Fun and French menu for a dinner party

I'm trying to come up with a fun French menu for a dinner party. I don't mind complicated dishes as long as they come out good. So far I'm thinking a champagne course, a salad, an entree with 2 sides, a cheese board, and then I'm thinking of doing a cafe gourmand (with a cannele, Dorie's butter break ups, Dorie's jammers, and something with chocolate). And ideas would be greatly appreciated! All together I'm looking for ideas for munchies to serve with champagne, an interesting salad, entree and sides, and a chocolate dessert.



Greenstuff May 8, 2013
Nicely said, lloreen. I was giving the Prosciutto a pass, as so many French people love jambon sec, but for the most part, options in the US all come from Italy or Spain.

ktmarblil, be sure to let us know what you make. And if you thought it was fun, come back and ask for advice for specific regions--we've let a lot of them run together here, and that's not really very French. In fact, when Patricia Wells was testing recipes for a general French cookbook, her friends in Provence were very confused. Then one of them thought she got it and said, "Oh, now I understand! You've been serving us California cuisine!"
lloreen May 8, 2013
Of course, if you want to be very French, serve a simple green salad with some bitter greens after the main course and before the cheese. This is considered palate cleansing.
Champagne and gougeres are lovely could serve a simple soup as an entrée (the 1st course)- something pureed like cauliflower soup or a clear soup. The advantage also is that you can cook this ahead of time.
Then the meat course, perhaps with potatoes of some kind and a vegetable on the side.
Cheese plate

That would be the traditional French order of a menu, anyways.
Oh, and asparagus is a great idea, but it would be better as an entree (the 1st course) White asparagus with a butter sauce is a classic start to a Spring menu. Prosciutto is Italian, not French....but still delicious of course.
Kukla May 7, 2013
You can make Salmon Rellettes which is delicious, easy to make and looks very impressive on a buffet table.
QueenSashy May 7, 2013
Salmon pate would go nicely with champagne
bigpan May 7, 2013
Duck legs confit for your main. Put spare duck fat into mashed potato. Cheese board should include some runny and some stinky.
Escargot on baguette slices with garlic butter would make a nice French canapé .
A glass of dubonnet would be nice with the cheeses.
pierino May 7, 2013
Bring on the snails!
pierino May 7, 2013
For cocktails; the French 75. It goes back to between the wars and references a French artillery piece.
For the cheese course; a stinky, runny, smells like the Feet of God Camembert. Or a washed rind epoisses.
sel E. May 7, 2013
sole meuniere is light. magret de canard is very classic. poulet basquaise is comforting. confit de canard (+ cassoulet) if you're up for it will hit home run.
Sam1148 May 6, 2013
For the Entree a whole fish...the freshest you can find. Simply stuffed with thyme, lemon, salt and pepper. Rubbed with Butter and salt on the skin tented and baked. Then deboned and served with a good sauce. You'll need a good source for best freshest fish.
Greenstuff May 6, 2013
Champagne is always the perfect French aperitif, but in France, they'd serve it with a lot less food than you're currently planning. You might consider having just the gougères with the Champagne, then serving the asparagus with prosciutto as your salad course (ironically, the French would call this appetizer course an entree and the main course something else). Rillettes can also be a lovely first course. Then, I think the coq au vin or boeuf would be a good choice for you if you want something that does not require special timing, always a good idea with guests. Slow-cooked duck legs are also really forgiving if you have access to them, and they'd go great with some vegetable sides. If it's going to be really warm, re-think that one though. Those stews are a little hard to take in really hot weather. As much as I love the goat cheese with salad that Emily mentions, I would not include them if I also planned on a cheese course. For your chocolate, I usually try for something small and exquisite plus a seasonal fruit option--the perfect strawberry for example. Or maybe strawberries dipped in chocolate.

ZombieCupcake May 6, 2013 or you could make different puff flavors
fiveandspice May 6, 2013
If you wanted to be very French you could do chevre chaud for the salad course - dredge rounds of goat cheese in a breading mixture and fry them and serve them atop a salad of tender lettuces with a simple vinaigrette and maybe some chopped hazelnuts. Frisee with lardons and a poached egg is also very French as is a celery root and carrot remoulade, which would also be good. For a main dish, you could go totally classic and do something like coq au vin or boeuf bourgignon with buttered carrots and peas, or for something lighter something like a pan seared trout with a lemon brown butter sauce.
Bevi May 6, 2013
For your chocolate component, you might get some good ideas from the food52 chocolate and spice contest:
ktmarblil May 6, 2013
I think I just decided on gougeres, skewers with prosciutto wrapped asparagus, and rilletes for the champagne course...all that remains are the 2nd, 3rd, and chocolate component of the cafe gourmand!
savorthis May 7, 2013
If you make rillettes, the rabbit one from Bouchon is superb....Rabbit Rillettes with Prunes:

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petitbleu May 6, 2013
Gougères would be perfect with the champagne. They're bite-sized, not messy, and delicious.
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