A Spring Dinner Menu from Paris Part-Time
Chef, author, and part-time resident of Paris, Lisa Baker Morgan agreed to curate our Spring Menu. She brings together three (3) recipes that celebrate the best of spring flavours, including asparagus, morels and strawberries. Start your evening with a cocktail, perhaps a glass of French champagne or one of these cocktails. Dinner begins with a main course of chicken with morels and asparagus. In the classic French style, the main is followed by a green salad. Finally, enjoy fresh spring strawberries with French meringue for dessert.
Paris Part Time is Lisa Baker Morgan’s book about transitioning life to live a portion of the year in France. This California native grew up in the mountain town of Big Bear, where the local economy depends on tourism. The hamlet caters to ski hill visitors in the winter and anyone looking for cooler temperatures and escapes from L.A. in the summer months. Please read her full bio below and our book review here.
Chicken with morels and asparagus (Poulet aux morilles et asperges)
- 4 Chicken Breasts bone-in and skin on or 1 chicken cut into 8 pieces
- Kosher Salt as needed
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper as needed
- 2 tbsp Grapeseed Oil
- 2 tbsp Unsalted Butter
- 16 Garlic Cloves unpeeled
- 6 small Shallots peeled and trimmed
- 1/3 cup Dry White Wine
- 12 large Fresh or re-hydrated Morels cleaned
- 1 bunch Fresh Asparagus cleaned and trimmed
- 2-3 Fresh French Thyme Sprigs
- 2 cups Homemade or low-sodium Chicken Stock
- 1 Crispy Baguette or Boule
- 12-14 New Potatoes optional
- Preheat oven to 375°F(190°C)
- Season chicken on all sides with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Clean and trim asparagus (trim the bottoms and peel off the outer layer about one inch from the spear). Cut into pieces about 4 inches in length.
- Place a large ovenproof skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once the pan is warm, add grapeseed oil. Add the chicken, skin-side down, to the skillet. Cook chicken until you have reached a deep, golden brown colour on both sides (use tongs to turn the chicken over). Do not rush this step.
- Using tongs, remove the chicken from the skillet and place the chicken on a plate. Lower the heat to a medium ﬂame. Pour off the cooking fat from the pan into a bowl/container to discard later.
- Add butter to the pan. Add garlic and shallots. Cook 2-3 minutes. Add morels. Add a pinch of kosher salt. Toss morels in butter and cook until the moisture has been cooked out of mushrooms.
- Add white wine to the pan. Use a wooden spoon to scrape any fond from the bottom of the pan. Add 1/2 cup of stock. Reduce liquid by half. Add asparagus. Return chicken (skin-side up) to the pan. Add the rest of the chicken stock (Add more chicken stock if necessary as asparagus needs to be covered; the chicken should not be.) Add thyme. Bring to a boil. Turn off the flame.
- Place skillet in oven. Bake, uncovered until the chicken and potatoes (if you are adding those) are cooked. This will take about 25-30 minutes.
- Carefully remove the skillet from the oven. Remove bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Discard. Adjust the seasoning to suit your taste. Add the fresh thyme.
- You can place the skillet on the table and serve it family-style or plate individually by giving each guest a chicken breast with vegetables and garlic.
- Serve with crispy bread that has a good crust.
Salad with fine herbs (salade avec fine herbes)
- 1 head of Bibb Lettuce
- 1 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
- 3 tbsp Quality Olive Oil
- 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
- 1 tsp Minced Shallots
- 1 tsp Sea Salt
- 1 tbsp Minced Tarragon
- 1 tbsp Fresh Minced Chives
- 1 tbsp Fresh Minced Chervil
- 1 tbsp Fresh Minced Italian parsley
- Leaf and wash the lettuce. Dry well. Set aside.
- To make the salad dressing, place vinegar and mustard in a bowl (or liquid measuring cup). Whisk in olive Add shallots, salt, and minced herbs. Adjust seasoning as needed.
- Dress salad (right before serving) by slowly incorporating dressing.
Spring Strawberries with French Meringue
- 4 oz Fresh Egg Whites room temperature
- 2 tsp Fresh Lemon Juice
- 4 oz Granulated Sugar
- 1 package Fresh Strawberries trimmed and sliced
- 1 tbsp Balsamic Glaze
- pinch of Fleur de Sel
- 4 scoops Vanilla Ice Cream
- Preheat oven to 200°F (95°C).
- Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer. Turn on low speed. When the egg whites begin to get some structure, add the lemon juice. Turn up the mixer speed and rain in the sugar. Mix until the egg whites are thick and glossy and hold stiff peaks. Turn off the mixer.
- Using a large spoon (or a spatula) and place a large dollop of the whipped whites (about 3-4 inches diameter) on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper (or a silicone mat). Use the spoon to create a depression in the center. They will look like puffy, shiny white nests. Repeat five more times. Note: If you want to create something more formal in appearance, you can put the whipped whites in a pastry bag and pipe into a disk shape.
- Bake on the lower rack in the oven until meringues are dry (you will be able to pick up the edge of the meringue from the paper). If you are using an electric oven, it is recommended that you ajar the oven door with a wooden spoon. Bake for about 3 1/2- 4 hours.
- Turn off the oven. Let meringue cool for about 1 hour. Store in an airtight container.
- Slice strawberries according to size. Place in a bowl and combine with balsamic glaze and a pinch of salt. Add a quenelle (or scoop) of vanilla ice cream to the center of each meringue. Add a scoop of the strawberries on top of the ice cream.
- Serve immediately.
For Pinterest Fans
Lisa Baker Morgan Bio
The first of her family to attend college, Lisa Baker Morgan graduated from the University of Southern California with a degree in English Literature. She obtained her Juris Doctorate from Southwestern Law School and her culinary degree from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts.
Morgan is the co-author of Homegrown Herb Garden (Quarry, 2014) and the author of Simple Pleasures: Fifty-two weeks of turning ordinary ingredients into extraordinary moments (ciao yummy!, 2012). She has given cooking classes at Chateau Bosgouet in Normandy and worked alongside Chef Bruno Doucet, Paris’s La Régalade. Morgan is also the author of a travel and food blog, www.chefmorgan.com, and has written numerous guest articles for food websites and blogs. She was featured in The Mothers of Reinvention (Vanguard Press, 2012) as a mother who faced a change in a positive way.
In addition to her writing and cooking endeavours, Morgan has taken on humanitarian and philanthropic causes in the United States and internationally, including advocacy on behalf of adults and children who have endured childhood sexual assault and trauma. She divides her time between Paris and Los Angeles.