There is a movement afoot in some of the best Paris restaurants. A bistro is defined by a tiny kitchen and dining room, a menu based on what’s available, appealing and inventive to the chef and an all-around intimate culinary experience that will leave you sated and inspired. Food writer, editor and instructor Jane Sigal’s Bistronomy, a collection of her favorite bistro recipes, is a must-buy for any French-food fanatic. Try your hand at these recipes that are at once trendy and classic, and maybe plan a trip to Paris while you’re at it!
Only Septime chef Bertrand Grébaut can make chicken salad taste like a groovy improvisation instead of a safe dish. The boneless thigh meat is moist, crunchy — it develops crackling skin in a cast-iron pan — and rousing when tumbled with anchovy-spiked potatoes. The kicker: a dollop of fromage blanc (or yogurt), plus a mix of raw and sautéed greens on the plate.
Make Ahead: The recipe can be prepared through Step 2 up to 4 hours ahead.
- 12 small red or new potatoes, scrubbed
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons minced shallot
- 3 oil-packed anchovy fillets, chopped
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons grape-seed oil
- 4 large skin-on boneless chicken thighs
- 5 ounces large amaranth leaves, thick central veins removed, or baby spinach
- fleur de sel
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- Small amaranth or baby spinach and mixed baby lettuce leaves, for garnish
- 1/2 cup fromage blanc or Greek yogurt, preferably goat's or sheep's milk
For the chicken
In a medium saucepan, cover the potatoes with water and bring to a boil. Cook over medium-high heat until tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and cut the potatoes in half.
Meanwhile, in a blender, combine the vinegar with the shallot, anchovies, mustard, and garlic and puree until smooth. With the blender on, drizzle in 1/3 cup (80 ml) of the olive oil until the vinaigrette is emulsified. Season with salt and pepper. Scrape the vinaigrette into a large bowl. Add the warm potatoes and toss to coat.
In a large cast-iron or other heavy skillet, heat the grape-seed oil over high heat until smoking. Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the skillet skin-side down and set another large heavy skillet on top. Reduce the heat to medium and cook the chicken until browned and crisp on the bottom, 6 to 8 minutes.
Remove the top skillet and turn the chicken over, then replace the skillet and cook the chicken for 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. Slice the chicken into pieces 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) thick. Add the chicken with any juices to the potatoes and gently toss to coat.
In the same skillet, cook the large amaranth leaves over medium heat, stirring, until just wilted, about 1 minute. Season with fleur de sel and pepper.
In a medium bowl, combine the lemon juice and remaining 1 teaspoon of olive oil and season lightly with fleur de sel and pepper. Add the small fresh amaranth and baby lettuce leaves and toss to coat. Mound the chicken and potato salad on plates. Top with the wilted amaranth and the fresh amaranth and lettuce. Set a quenelle or spoonful of the fromage blanc on each plate, season the fromage blanc generously with pepper, and serve.