Recipes and Photography by Ellise Pierce
It can’t be helped. At some point, aft er living in Paris for a few years, you become a un peu de francais. When the metro is suddenly shut down because of an accident, you respond like everyone else, with a resigned shrug.
You expect to bag your own groceries at the Monoprix and know that if you don’t have exact change for whatever it is you’re buying, you’ll be scolded by the cashier. And before any dinner, at a restaurant or at home, there is Champagne. Served with something light, a small slice of a savory cake, radishes dipped in butter and fleur de sel, or perhaps a torsade, a long twist of puff pastry. My favorite French habit of all. Which thankfully easily translates to holiday and winter entertaining anywhere in the world. Even right here in Dallas.
You can do this two ways—serve Champagne with any of the appetizers below before a dinner party—or go really French, and host a Champagne party on its own. Not only will your guests love you for serving bubbly, this is the sort of gathering that’s easy to pull off at the last minute, something that we’re all needing more of during the holidays, anyway.
The idea is to keep it light, look at what’s in season, and steer clear of heavy cheese platters and anything along those lines (leave your Brie de Meaux and Fourme d’Ambert for later, aft er dinner). Luckily in North Texas, there’s plenty available at the farmers market right now, like the appetizer recipes below made with spinach, beets, herbs, and cauliflower, to make something wonderful, wintry, and perfectly apropos for apéros.
Did I just hear a cork pop? Cheers and happy holidays, y’all!
Ellise Pierce is the Cowgirl Chef and author of COWGIRL CHEF: Texas Cooking with a French Accent (Running