While on our two week trip to the south of France and northern Spain last month, my husband Robert and I spent several days with my college friend Beth and her husband Marc at their wonderful home outside Castelner, in the Landes region – not far from the Spanish border, in French Basque country. While we were there, we shared many fun times – and delicious meals. I thought I would share with you some of the scrumptious dishes they prepared, which provided me with several new fun ideas to try! (I will also share some of the amazing meals we ate in local restaurants in subsequent posts.)
To set the scene, these are our incredible hosts, Beth and Marc:
And this is what their beautiful home looks like:
(Yes, that’s Robert relaxing poolside!)
The first day, we arrived via rental car from the Biarritz airport around 1:30 pm and Marc and Beth started off our visit with a lovely lunch, beginning with this artfully arranged platter of local sausages, along with sliced figs and fresh tomatoes from their garden:
(Love, love this presentation! Definitely trying something similar at my next party.)
Following the scrumptious sausages, we had a wonderful salad of mixed greens, figs, mushrooms and carrots tossed with a balsamic dressing . . .
. . . followed by a selection of local cheeses, including delicious Brebis, a local Basque cheese we saw several times on menus in this region (on the right in the photo below):
And, we were able to enjoy these delicacies with a delicious bottle of French Chablis, and in this most magical setting:
All in all, a very special, French lunch that was the perfect way to begin our sojourn chez Broidy.
Here are some other fabulous dishes we enjoyed during our stay. What I loved about all of them is that the preparations allowed the natural, delicious, fresh flavors of the food to come through:
1. Sliced local sausages with cold roasted potatoes and carrots, served with a herb-yogurt dip:
(Great use of leftover roasted potatoes, and again, I love the presentation!)
Fresh salmon (caught the day before, in the Atlantic ocean 40 miles from their house!) roasted with butter, olive oil, garlic, herbes de Provence, sliced zucchini and lemon:
(Sorry, salmon picture is a bit blurry; not sure why . . . maybe it was that martini Robert fixed me before dinner . . .)
2. Roast chicken, seasoned similar to the salmon – with olive oil, lots of garlic, herbes de Provence:
3. Lamb roast, with garlic, olive oil, herbes de Provence:
4. ?Haricots vert, cooked in lemon water, drained and tossed with olive oil:
5. Sliced roasted potatoes (tossed with olive oil):
6. Fresh pasta tossed with garlic, olive oil, zucchini and tomatoes:
7. Roasted mushrooms (tossed with melted butter and garlic):
8. One night, Beth asked me to make a salad, then after I said yes, informed me that Marc had used up all the olive oil – all the oil in fact – in making the dinner. So, what do do? They had lots of fresh tomatoes and cucumbers, so I decided to do a salad of sliced cucumbers and tomatoes with a herb-yogurt dressing (greek yogurt, tarragon vinegar, lemon zest, garlic, dill, mint, salt and pepper):
(Me making the salad dressing in their lovely French kitchen)
I am definitely making several of these recipes at home – hopefully you now have some new ideas to try too!