In middle school, I had listened to my Edith Piaf album enough times to have every lyric memorized — despite the fact that I didn’t speak French. (My rendition of the chorus to La Vie En Rose took several liberties, “Quand ilmepren dansesbra…”) This fascination with the French language, which manifested itself in Intensive French classes my senior year in college, has since made the jump to French food. Considering that the last four books I purchased have been French cookbooks, you could say I’m obsessed, actually.
This past Sunday, I dove head first into Mimi Thorisson’s A Kitchen in France and David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen to create a classic French feast. While I frequently look to Lebovitz’s traditional recipes for inspiration (and mouth-watering stories about sourcing crêpes in the Latin Quarter), I’ve shied away from Thorrisson’s time-intensive creations. I’ve often reached for her book off of the shelf, then hesitated after reading the name of an unpronounceable mushroom on the ingredient list or lengthy directions — it is not the stuff of weeknight meals. For this meal, I adapted Mimi’s Langoustines with Armagnac, subbing langoustines for shrimp and armagnac for more white wine, and paired it with a classic French frisée salad aux lardons.