Recently at Grey Goose’s beautiful Sunset Soirée, Novella had a chance to meet Chef Justin Kent, previously of Alain Passard’s 3-Michelin starred L’Arpège, and chat about French cuisine and its often overlooked adherence to simplicity and the quality of French produce. But more importantly and — and this is no jab at the chef’s personality — more memorably, we had a chance to eat his food. And I must say that Chef Kent’s Parisian picnic-style dishes were a testimony to Grey Goose’s ability to create and spot simple elegance and tastefulness. “Grey Goose approached me because the concept of what I do — farm-to-table — is much in line with their philosophy of field-to-bottle. I wanted to [make pairings] that touch on some of the key notes of Grey Goose and its terroir,” he said. Though those prone to hyperbole might suggest that the pairing of Grey Goose Le Grand Fizz — with which everyone was eventually awash — and Chef Kent’s farm salad and poulet au moutarde was indeed the culinary equivalent of being taken on a nice ride through France’s Picardy region in a 1950 Citroen 2cv — where Grey Goose’s wheat come from —, I myself will go only so far to say that the pairing was a form of alchemy in which scenes of Paris became food and drink.
Luckily for those of us who cannot make it to Paris or Picardy anytime soon, Grey Goose and Chef Kent were kind enough to share their recipes with us. Below are your gateway to effervescent Paris and Picardy and their French effervescence (with some personal notes from yours truly).
Grey Goose Le Grand Fizz
- 1 & 1/2 parts Grey Goose vodka
- 1 part St-Germain elderflower liqueur
- 2 parts chilled soda water
- 1/2 freshly squeezed lime juice (or approximately 2 wedges)
To switch things up a bit, maintain the ratios and replace Grey Goose with Grey Good L’Orange (or Le Citron) and the lime juice with freshly squeezed orange juice (or lemon juice). You can also try it with Grey Goose Cherry Noir — just replace the lime juice with lemon. The only rule here is to keep things simple. Use good quality ice — the clearer the better — and always use a jigger and let Grey Goose do its thing.
- Build ice into an oversized cabernet wine glass. More ice than you initially think seem appropriate.
- Add Grey Goose vodka and lime juice and top with St-Germain and soda water (in that order).
- Garnish with fresh lime wedges and a swanky Grey Goose stirrer if you have one.
Farm Salad with Goat Cheese & Champagne Vinaigrette
- 1 fennel bulb (halved and cored)
- 1 large carrot
- 1 small Chioggia beet (blanched and peeled)
- 3 large radishes
- 1 endive
- 1 granny smith apple (sliced)
- 80g arugula
- 1 tablespoon of tarragon leaves
- 1 tablespoon of dill
- 1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 1 tablespoon chives (chopped)
- 1 tablespoon champagne wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 85g fresh goat cheese (crumbled)
- This recipe makes 4 servings
The Chioggia beet is a variety straight out of the Beatles’s Sgt. Pepper’s. The candy pink and white striped beet is sweeter than the usual variety and does not bleed as much, which is great since red beets may very well overwhelm the rest of the salad with its colors. But if Chioggia is not available at your nearby farmers’ market or grocery store, you can of course replace it with a regular old beet. Or if you want the bright colors, try using watermelon radishes — just make sure to use a little less of the other radishes. Or, do like I did and take it out entirely. Nobody will notice if you don’t tell a soul. It’ll be your little secret that will tickle you when the guests get on your nerves, like, “Little did they know…” Do Mr. Burns’s evil fingers and move onto the other vegetables. Finally, near the end of the summer, try switching red radishes with black ones. They are more pungent and a bit spicier and the charcoal skin adds great color to the salad.
- Blanch the beets in simmering water with the skin on until easily able to be pierced with a knife.
- Let the beets cool. Once cool enough to handle, remove the skin of the beets with your hands. It should slide off.
- Using a mandolin, thinly slice the fennel, carrot, beet, and radishes and transfer to a large bowl. Add the endive, arugula, tarragon, dill, parsley, and chives.
- In a small bowl, whisk the champagne vinegar with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add the dressing and half of the goat cheese, and toss gently.
- Transfer the salad to plates and garnish with the remaining goat cheese.
Poulet au Moutarde
- 10 chicken thighs (skin on, deboned)
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 cup cream
- 150g grain mustard
- 150g lardons
- 1/2 banana shallot (diced)
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme
- Fresh parsley (chopped for garnish)
- Salt & pepper (to taste)
- This recipe makes 5 servings
Use a thick bottomed pan. Cast iron skillet works well here. Some suggest oven roasting the chicken in the oven, but it’s hot in the summer and who has time for that. Poulet au moutarde (mustard chicken doesn’t sound as appetizing for some reason — the French really know how to make everything chic) is a classic and even if everything doesn’t go 100% right, it’s hard to muck up. Use good chicken (organic, kosher, air-chilled, because we are about that good life), good grain mustard (that Grey Poupon, though Canadian brand, Kozlik’s is also very good), and fresh vegetables, and you’re set. Because I’m a sucker for all things pickled, I like the poulet au moutarde avec pickled slaw. Smitten Kitchen has a great and easy recipe and you can get it here. Finally, though this may not really be that haute-cuisine in spirit, always have a loaf of sourdough or a baguette to soak up the sauce.
- Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper.
- In a pan on medium-high heat, sear the chicken thighs, skin side down in oil until crisp and golden brown. Flip and sear on the other side until lightly caramelized.
- Remove the chicken thighs from the pan and set aside on a plate.
- Add lardons to the pan and cook until crisp.
- Add shallots to the pan and cook until translucent.
- Add the grain mustard and stir for 30 seconds being careful not to let it burn.
- Deglaze the pan with white win, bring to a simmer and reduce by half.
- Add cream and bring to a simmer.
- Add the smoked paprika.
- Place the chicken thighs back in the sauce and cook on medium to medium-low heat, covered, until fork tender.
- Remove from the sauce and place on to the plate to serve.
- Spoon sauce over the top of the chicken and garnish with chopped parsley.
Riz au Lait with Caramel Beurre Salé
- 1 liter whole milk
- 200g risotto rice (carnaroli is best but arborio will do)
- 200g sugar
- Zest of 2 lemons
- 200g heavy cream
- 500g sugar (for the caramel beurre salé)
- 400g heavy cream (for the caramel beurre salé)
- 125g salted butter (for the caramel beurre salé)
- This recipe makes 6~8 servings
Riz au lait is rice pudding. More or less. But instead of chocolate or cinnamon powder, here we have the caramel beurre salé, a fancier accoutrement to be sure. But, lucky for us, not that much more difficult nor time consuming! I recommend the carnaroli instead of the arborio because it is starchier and will give you a creamier result. I’m used to adding a bit of nutmeg to my rice pudding, and I’m sure it won’t harm the recipe here. In fact, I believe that the nutmeg may go very well with Grey Goose Espresso Martini.
- Bring milk, rice, and sugar to a simmer and cook for 20-25 minutes until the rice is cooked through.
- Add lemon zest and allow mixture to cool.
- Whip heavy cream and fold into the riz au lait, set aside.
- To make the caramel sauce, heat cream so that it is warm, just before simmering and set aside.
- In a small pot, caramelize sugar to a med-dark amber color.
- Slowly add in the cream to the caramel, whisking consistently, then remove from the heat once well blended.
- Add butter and stir well.
- To serve, pour cooled riz au lait into individual sized ramekins and top with caramel sauce.
Grey Goose Espresso Martini
- 1 &1/2 parts Grey Goose Vodka
- 1 part single origin espresso
- 3/4 parts premium coffee liqueur
- Good chocolate
This is the finisher. Your guests had their salad and chicken and they’re just digging into the rich riz au lait, thinking something along the lines of I’m dead, and you come out with this concoction of smooth blow of elegance and power.This delicious cocktail wakes up the drinker and makes them happy at the same time. What more can one ask? Maybe a take-out box if there’s any of that salad left. But otherwise, nothing.
- Shake hard and long.
- Double strain and garnish with grated chocolate.
There you are, folks, the solution to your summer lunch, dinner, and picnic menu problem. Don’t mind the beautiful photo of the rock by the beach with perfectly photogenic charcuterie, cheese, and roast chicken, and absurd ratio between baguette and other foods. I put it there because it’s pretty and maybe it will inspire you to seek out a bit of the French-picnic chic this summer. When preparing the food seem a bit daunting, remember the perfect wood picnic basket. That the Grey Goose is the first on the list is by no means an accident — it’s meant to enliven and rejuvenate your mind, body, and soul as you spend the long summer day out in the sun. Keep the food and drinks simple, spend less time in the kitchen and more time with your friends and family.