At the end of an eight-hour Paris wander session that began in Luxembourg Gardens, took us down rue Mouffetard, and ended up in the Marais, I collapsed on our sofa and began to scroll through the photos on my camera. There’s Abby feeding the remains of last night’s baguette to the ducks. There’s Phoebe gaping at the 6-month-old monkey at the zoo at Jardins des Plantes, there’s Andy drinking a Kronenbourg at a cafe one block from Place des Vosges, there’s….my dog in New York. It was like the screeching of a record player seeing that image — which was part of a video that doesn’t automatically download with still images. You know it’s a successful vacation when you are looking at photos of your house and you have to struggle to remember what it feels like to be standing in your own kitchen. I played the video and looked around at all the stuff that was littering the counter — bottles of vinegars and bowls and knives and spice jars and…what is all that stuff? What was I making? We had become so used to cooking in our French kitchen with the bare minimum that I thought Maybe I should just throw everything away when I get home. That night I picked up sole (aka, the most family-friendly fish there is) from the fish guy at the Marche Saint-Germain, Andy made a simple salad with peas, butter lettuce, and tomatoes, and we sliced up a baguette. Making sure we saved a little of the bread for next morning’s ducks.
All I did to the sole — which was fresher than you can imagine — was fry it in a little butter and olive oil for not even two minutes a side. I poured about 1/3 glass of white wine into the pan, added another pat of butter, then turned up the heat to deglaze. I served the pan-sauce on the side so kids could drizzle as much or as little as they liked on top.
I’m a big fan of peas in salad these days. We added some fresh tomatoes and tossed with a vinaigrette made of balsamic, Dijon, olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper.
A nice light summer dinner was the perfect antidote to a day gorging on Parisian street treats.
But that doesn’t mean we don’t have dessert. Two chocolate chip cookies picked up at Eric Kayser on earlier that day did the job.