One of my favorite things about Paris is being able to walk down any street (or Rue as they say en francais), and seeing rows on rows of little round tables occupied by classy Parisians dressed to the nines. Some with kids, some without kids, but always a cigarette in hand. Ah, the sidewalk café. As emblematic to Paris as the Eiffel Tower.
If you’re not a fan of cigarette smoke, you’re pretty much SOL because nobody gives a ____ about their lungs here, or yours for that matter. You are then forced to eat inside, out of the beautiful sunlight and away from the hustle & bustle and beautiful French hipsters talking about something deep…but if you can stand smelling some second hand smoke, or breathing in through your mouth (I don’t know which is worse for you), then find yourself a table outside with a good vantage point to do some people watching, eating and drinking. But be careful, a tourist can easily find a table at a sidewalk café and and suddenly get sucked into an alternate wonderland and never leave.
One of the most memorable cafés and meals we had was at Café de Paris, located on 10 Rue de Buci.
We had spent a lovely morning walking around Paris along the Seine until Chris looked down at his watch and realized it was wine o’clock, so we found a cute little street nearby the Latin Quarter, just South of the Notre Dame.
After ordering a carafe of Provençal rosé, we decided to get a little snack to hold us over until a nice dinner that evening. We ended up ordering the Hericot Vert salad with Chicken and Grapefruit (one of the more healthy and paleo options). The salad was beautiful, but the chicken, a bit flavorless and uninteresting. If there’s one thing I have a real distaste for, it’s boneless, skinless, flavorless chicken breast.
But then, a miracle happened. No, the skin did not magically reappear back on the chicken, but the waiter dropped by a little jar of hot Dijon mustard. The missing element. It completely changed the dynamics of the salad, pulling the flavors together: salty, tart, spicy and sweet, and adding a little moisture back to the dry texture of the salad. We ended up using the entire jar of mustard and it was not a bad call. Fully satiated, we were ready to focus our attention back to drinking our wine and people watching. Oh Parisian sidewalk cafés, you never fail me.
Now that we’re back home in Santa Monica, whenever we want to be magically transported back to Paris, we open a bottle of Provençal Rosé wine and make this nostalgic Parisian salad. For your listening pleasure, we recommend the French Cafe station on Pandora.
- 10 oz green beens, trimmed
- 5 oz of frisée
- 3 small potatoes, sliced lenthwise (optional if you're eliminating starches from your diet)
- 1.5 pd boneless chicken breast with skin on (1 full breast)
- salt and pepper
- 1 grapefruit, segmented
- 1 tbsp grass-fed butter
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 2 tbsp EVOO
- 1/4 cup spicy Dijon mustard
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper and let it stand at room temperature for 30 minutes to make sure it's completely dry before cooking.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Meanwhile, bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium sized steamer
- Steam both the green beans and the potatoes for 15 minutes until tender.
- In a large cast iron pan, melt the butter on high. Place the chicken breasts on the sizzling hot pan and sear for 5 minutes on both sides until nice and golden.
- Remove from stove and place the chicken on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Place it in the oven for 20 minutes.
- Take it out and let cool for 2 minutes before slicing lengthwise.
- green beans
- sliced chicken
- Whisk together the dressing and toss well before serving.