[Editor's note: this is another joint effort from the two of us, as we each took on a component of this meal. I'll be taking the first half, while I'll leave Michael to the steak.]
This all started with an email to Michael during the week–I had been flipping through our recent blog posts and noted with some alarm that they were all Mexican, pasta and/or Spanish dishes, and so I proposed that we make French food for something different and as part of our anniversary dinner…which turned into a weekend of anniversary dinners. What can I say–we know how to celebrate. Michael has been making noises lately about having steak, so out came the Les Halles Cookbook…and what happened turned things into an interesting evening.
But first, to address The Dreamers. This is a movie for people who love movies and/or fantasize about spending a month squirreled away in an elegantly-dilapidated Parisian apartment with fabulous, young, like-minded people while you all loaf about in various stages of deshabille. There’s a great scene when Isabelle (played by a lovely Eva Green) makes ratatouille for the group which she naturally burns, and their American friend deftly separates a banana into three equal segments so they all get a bite to eat. Maybe this is why French women don’t get fat–they burn dinner and then simply feast on bananas. (I’m kidding, of course.) But go see it anyway: it will make you want to stage your own little retreat from the world (if only, say, for a long weekend) and for a fantastically large bathroom with a big claw-footed tub.
But we must return to dinner; more specifically, my job which was making the soup. Les Halles’s onion soup is not difficult to make–really–but what it does require is a great deal of time to let those onions get dark and caramelized. It also requires oven-safe soup crocks, something I spent too long in the Lincoln Center Bed Bath and Beyond looking for before I gave up, so I ended up just sprinkling the Gryuere cheese over our Fiestaware bowls and letting the cheese melt into the soup itself. (I should also mention that I may have picked on the grated cheese a few too many times for us to properly coat the bowls, but I’m going to go on the record and say that the bowls were probably too wide for this application anyway.)
Because the soup took so damn long to make (as you really need to let those onions cook down to get the best, dark, caramelized flavor), we ended up eating half of Michael’s frites first and then dove into the soup and the steak together. While that wasn’t the original plan, everything still came out smashingly well, making any memories of kitchen bickering that may have transpired disappear in favor of salty, cheesy and oniony goodness.
Let this be a lesson for us all: time management is very important in the kitchen.
Find the recipe here: Onion Soup Les Halles
As for the honey-glazed onions, well, I’ll get to them after I make them one time when I don’t burn them.