5 Simple French Appetizers to Make at Home, According to Top Chefs

By Vicki Denig

Bringing a taste of French apéro to your home may be simpler than you think. We’ve enlisted the help of five stellar chefs to share some tasty, easy-to-make recipes to enjoy amongst your friends and family this fall season. Simply pop a bottle of tasty French wine, choose from one of the recipes below, and get ready for a delicious, French-inspired happy hour chez toi! 

5 Simple French Appetizers to Make at Home

Savory Pistachio Biscotti - by Nicola Canuti, Executive Chef at Hôtel Byblos (Saint Tropez, France) 

Ingredients: 
6 egg yolks 
420 g of butter 
200 g Emmental
150 g parmesan cheese 
600 g flour 
20 g salt 
200 g Pistachio 

Tip: The butter should be left at room temperature for two hours prior to starting the recipe.  

Method: 
1. Soften the butter then add eggs to the machine while kneading then add the cheese and the eggs then the flour, salt, and pistachios. 
2. Cover the dough and place it in the refrigerator for 1 hour. 
3. Roll out the dough 1 / 2 cm to the discs of 5 cm and brush with egg yolk. 
4. Bake in the oven at 170 degrees for 10 minutes. 

© ©Lode Greven Photography

Caramelized Onion Tart - by Victor King and Kristen Hall, Chefs at The Essential (Birmingham, Alabama) 

Ingredients: 
1 - 10-inch pie crust 
6 medium yellow onions (peeled, halved, and sliced) 
2 medium red onions (peeled, halved, and sliced) 
4 Tbsp of butter 
2 sprigs of fresh thyme 
1 cup of gruyère cheese (grated) 
1 egg (for wash)  

“We love to prepare this for dinner parties, as it’s savory, vegetarian, and not seasonal,” said Kristen and Victor. 

Method: 
1. Melt the butter on medium heat in a Dutch oven or heavy pan (where the onions will be cooked). 
2. Add garlic until it sweats but is not brown.  
3. Caramelize the onions to mahogany color and chill at room temperature (or do this one day ahead of time and put it in the fridge).  
4. Form pie crust in a tart pan and freeze the formed shell. Preheat the oven to 375F.  
5. Place onions in the frozen formed crust, spread evenly, top with cheese and herbs, then egg wash the edges. 
6. Bake for 30 minutes. Ensure that the bottom of the crust is lightly browned. 
8. Top with the rest of the herbs, let it cool, and slice into 2-inch squares.  

Royal Sea Bream Ceviche with Coconut Milk, Granny Smith Apple, and Lime - by Jean-Denis Rieubland, Chef at the Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa (Champillon, France) 

Ingredients: 
400 grams of sea bream (diced into 1cm pieces)  
½ Granny Smith apple, cut into julienne strips and diced 
50 mL lime juice 
Lime zest 
400 mL coconut milk 
½ Red onion  
¼ bunch of basil 

Method: 
1. Use coconut milk, lime juice, lime zest, salt, and pepper to create the marinade. 
2. Slice the sea bream and marinate it for 3 minutes. 
3. Add the diced apple and the red onion. 
4. Add the marinade all around. Serve very fresh.  

© ©Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa

Hot Mussels by the Chef Team at White Limozeen (Nashville, Tennessee)  

Ingredients: 
1 Tablespoon butter 
1 Tablespoon sliced garlic 
1 Tablespoon sliced shallot 
1 bay leaf 
1 sprig of freshly picked thyme 
½ teaspoon chili flakes  
2 pounds of mussels (cleaned) 
3 oz. cider 
3 Tablespoons White Limo Butter 
2 Tablespoons chopped parsley leaves 
1 Tablespoon lemon juice 
Salt to Taste 

For White Limo Butter: 
1 cup butter (unsalted, room temperature) 
1 Tablespoon honey 
1 lemon (zest and juice) 
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper 
3 Tablespoons of shallots (minced) 
1 Tablespoon fish sauce 
1 Tablespoon paprika 
2 Tablespoons brown anchovies (rinsed and minced) 

Method (for Limo Butter): 
Using a small mixer with the paddle attachment, paddle on high speed until smooth and well incorporated. 

The Hot Mussels are a take on a French classic with a Nashville/White Limozeen spin,” says Marc Rose, co-founder of Call Mom, the hospitality group behind White Limozeen, Cross-Eyed Critters, and Poindexter at Graduate Hotel Nashville. “It’s super simple because the dish doesn’t require a bunch of prep. You can have this appetizer ready in about 10-15 minutes.” Rose notes that his biggest tip when making the mussels is to use quality ingredients, including purchasing Bouchot style mussels and high-fat butter. 

Method (for Hot Mussels): 
1. Melt the first bit of butter, sweat the aromatics, add the mussels, and allow to cook for 1-2 minutes. 
2. Add the cider and cook until the mussels open.  
3. Top with White Limo butter, season with lemon juice and salt.  

© White Limozeen - Hot Mussels

Mushroom Tart by Jeb Aldrich, Executive Chef of Brasserie la Banque (Charleston, South Carolina) 

For Filling: 
5 onions, minced 
2 cloves of garlic, minced 
Thyme Leaves 
140 g crème fraîche 
200 g rice, cooked 
2 kg French horn mushrooms 
300 g prosciutto, small dice 
4 eggs 
Parmesan cheese, grated fine 
Salt, pepper 
Parsley 
Truffle oil, used sparingly 

Method: 
1. Sweat the onions and garlic slowly with salt and pepper for about 45 minutes. 
2. Add the thyme and continue sweating for 10 minutes. 
3. Add the crème fraîche and cook until thick. Let cool. 
4. Cook 240 g raw rice in salted water until just cooked. It should still have a small bite as it will absorb more liquid as it is baked. Drain and cool. 
5. Cut and sauté mushrooms until golden brown. 
6. Blanch the prosciutto and chill. 
7. Combine the porcinis and the onion mixture. Add the eggs and mix thoroughly. 
8. Add the rice and ham. 
9. Add the parmesan and season with salt, pepper, and parsley. Add a teaspoon or so of truffle oil. 

For Tart Dough: 
1 kg Flour 
500 g Water 
250 g Olive oil 
20 g Salt 

Method: 
1. Create a smooth and homogenous dough. Rest until needed.  
2. Bake at 325 F for 18 minutes. Let cool, cut into smaller pieces, and serve.  

© ©james harris

Bon appétit! 

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