For me, Bastille Day, the French national holiday celebrated July 14, brings thoughts of leisurely summertime dining in France — the inspiration for this menu. To start, a variation of classic potato and leek vichyssoise with radishes replacing much of the potato is as cool and silky as the original, but with a peppery, earthy flavor as well. A shallot-infused tomato sauce accompanies scallops, and dessert (it’s also a great breakfast, actually) is a tart filled with lightly sweetened Swiss chard, raisins, and pine nuts.
1½ pounds dry sea scallops, side muscles removed
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup minced shallots
Salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 ripe medium tomatoes, grated (about 1½ cups pulp), skins discarded
1/3 cup dry white wine
¼ cup chopped parsley
1 tablespoon neutral oil
Lemon wedges, for serving
Dry the scallops well with paper towels. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil until shimmering. Add the shallots and ½ teaspoon salt, and saute until just softened, 3 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, adjust the heat to medium-high, and saute for 2½ minutes. Add the wine, bring to a strong simmer, and, stirring occasionally, reduce sauce slightly, about 2½ minutes longer. Taste and add salt if necessary and pepper to taste. Stir in most of the parsley. Spread on a serving platter, cover with foil, and set aside.
Wipe out the skillet. Add the neutral oil, adjust to high heat, and heat until oil begins to smoke. Sprinkle scallops with salt and pepper, then cook them, in a single layer and undisturbed, until browned, 1½ to 2½ minutes. Turn and cook until firm and centers are just opaque, 30 to 90 seconds longer (remove scallops as they finish cooking). Arrange scallops on the sauce, sprinkle with remaining olive oil and parsley, and serve at once with lemon wedges.
Makes about 2 quarts
Adapted from Hungry for France by Alexander Lobrano.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium leek, white and light green parts chopped (about 2 cups)
Salt and pepper
½ small Yukon Gold potato, peeled and chopped
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1½ pounds radishes with greens, 2 radishes reserved, remaining radishes thinly sliced, and greens chopped
2/3 cup half-and-half
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, heat butter until bubbling subsides, add the leek and ½ teaspoon salt, and saute about 2½ minutes. Adjust heat to medium-low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until leeks have released their juices, about 5 minutes. Add the potato, chicken broth, and 3 cups water, adjust heat to high, and bring to a strong simmer. Adjust heat to medium, cover the pan partially, and simmer for about 6 minutes. Add sliced radishes and continue to simmer, partially covered, until barely tender, about 8 minutes longer. Set the pot aside off heat and stir in the greens until wilted.
Puree soup in batches in a blender until very smooth. Strain into a bowl, then cover and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours.
At serving time, very thinly slice the reserved radishes. Stir the half-and-half and salt and pepper to taste into the soup. Serve garnished with radish slices.
Swiss Chard Tart (Tourte de Blettes)
Makes 1 10- or 11-inch tart
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
5 to 7 tablespoons ice water
1 tablespoon softened butter, for pan
¼ cup golden raisins
2½ pounds Swiss chard, stems removed (6 quarts loosely packed leaves)
2 large eggs
¼ cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
In a food processor, pulse the flour, baking powder, 2½ tablespoons sugar, and ½ teaspoon salt several times. With the motor running, slowly add the oil and process until the mixture resembles wet sand, about 40 seconds. With the motor still running, slowly add 5 tablespoons of ice water. Stop and pulse until dough begins to clump, adding up to 2 more tablespoons ice water if necessary. Transfer to a piece of plastic wrap, knead once or twice, separate about a third of the dough, pat both pieces into disks, wrap, and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
Butter a 10- or 11-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Lay a large piece of plastic wrap on a work surface, dust with flour, place the larger dough disk in the center, dust again, and cover with a second large piece of plastic wrap. Roll the dough into a circle about 14 inches in diameter and ¼ inch thick. Remove the top piece of plastic wrap and use the bottom piece to gently flip the dough into the pan; peel off and reserve the plastic wrap. Ease dough into the corners of the pan, trim the edges of the dough, pressing any excess back into the sides to thicken and reinforce the tart shell. Roll the smaller piece of dough to fit the top of the tart. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Soak raisins in 1 cup warm water, then dry and set aside. Meanwhile, make an ice bath and bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon salt and the chard, and cook until wilted, about 3 minutes. Drain and dump into ice bath. Drain again and squeeze dry with hands, and again inside a clean dish towel, wringing out liquid. Chop the dried chard finely (you should have about 2 cups) and set aside.
With the rack in the center position, heat the oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, beat the eggs and cream; reserve 1½ tablespoons and set aside. In another bowl, stir the remaining sugar and the lemon zest, then whisk in the larger amount of the egg-cream mixture. Stir in the chard, raisins, and pine nuts. Set the tart shell on a parchment-lined baking sheet, add the filling, and position the dough round on top (it’s OK if it doesn’t reach the edges), brush with the reserved egg-cream mixture, and cut 3 vents. Bake until golden brown, 35 to 45 minutes, rotating the pan after 18 minutes.
Cool the tart on a wire rack for at least 40 minutes. Remove the sides of the pan, slice the tart, and serve.
Adam Ried is the equipment specialist for America’s Test Kitchen. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.