Cooking and enjoying a Parisian bistro-style meal is a great way to get in the spirit of visiting Paris. With a little planning, it can be an easy weeknight event. Or, invite some friends and make it a weekend dinner for family and friends. Either way, it will transport you to Paris – even if just for the evening.
These Parisian recipes are pretty simple with ingredients that can be purchased in nearly any local grocery store. Do not worry if it doesn’t come out perfect. My cooking always seems to look lopsided on the plate. It took me multiple attempts and lots of photos to try to make these dishes look as good as I could.
Three Part Series for Parisian Bistro-Style Meal
There are 3 parts in this series on Parisian recipes. I always start with dessert. Then, you will find the appetizer. Finally, the main course and a couple of sides.
With those 3 courses, it will be a simple, but filling Parisian bistro-style meal. It should satisfy your yen for French food – right in your own home.
Should you want to know what the French have for a full dinner, the following are the courses and the order.
Aperitif (same in English)
Generally a glass of Champagne or a glass of dry white wine, maybe a kir, along with some roasted nuts, assorted olives and a cracker. Not a cocktail hour, but a settle-in drink while waiting for everyone invited to gather round (or make it to the dinner).
Entrée (our appetizer)
This is the first course at the table. Generally, this will compliment the main course. So, if you are having fish or seafood for the main course, you may want to have a vegetable tart or onion soup. If you are having meat for the main course, then choose a fish or seafood appetizer.
Plat Principal (main dish)
Obviously, this is the bigger portion of the meal that will include a protein and a side dish or two. Again, make it work with the appetizer to provide variety during the meal.
Just like how it sounds, but probably very simple. Some greens, a light dressing and really that is it. No need to go crazy with eggs, olives, nuts, dried fruits and all the things we toss together in a salad.
A great thing about Paris is that there are cheese shops all over the place and it is easy to have little tastes of a variety of cheese at the end of a meal. Like you can imagine, a plate may be presented family style with 3 cheeses. Maybe some honey, preserved fruits or roasted nuts will be on the side. Then, you slice off a portion for your plate and pass it around.
Been waiting the whole meal for this? Well, like over here, some people go all out on extravagant desserts and others are simple and often contain fruit. The thing about Paris is, pastry stores create beautiful desserts that are wonderful tasting – and you don’t have to make them. So why not go all out on dessert in Paris?
At the end, after dessert, coffee will be served. Often times a small bit of chocolate will be served to accompany the coffee.
By this time, you should be D-O-N-E. Even without huge portions, this should be a sufficiency.
The recipes here are for an abbreviated version of this full French meal. Even without all of the courses (let alone all the dishes to wash), this Parisian bistro-style meal will probably satisfy you.