Cooking with Alison

French Picnic (Pique-Nique) Menu and Recipes

In Appetizers, Hors D'oeuvres, Snacks, Main Course on August 2, 2011 at am

I made a French themed picnic (pique-nique) basket for Ed and I, but I was feeling too sick to go outside, so we enjoyed it in our pyjamas at home.  (That’s the second picnic that has been foiled this summer.)  Below, I have shared our menu, a simple and wonderful recipe for tomato salad, as well as other French picnic menu ideas.  (See Southern themed picnic menus and recipes here.)

Our French Style Picnic (Pique-Nique) Menu

Note that this would make a great party spread as well.

As shown in the photo above, I purchased a French baguette, duck liver pâté (use any pâté that you like), cornichons (also known as gherkins), and French cheese.  I chose St. Agur blue cheese (imported from France) and a French pasteurized soft cheese.  Use whatever cheese(s) you like.

I also found an organic saucisson sec (French dried salami) made in Quebec, Canada (photo above).  Ed and I loved it, especially because it wasn’t overly salted.  The brand is Les Viandes Bioloques de Charlevoix.  If you search for it through Google, it will translate the page to English for you.   

Other than the organic saucisson sec, my favourite component of the picnic was a fresh and simple tomato salad.  The freshness and acidity of the tomatoes were the perfect compliment to the rich cheeses and pâté.

Simple Tomato Salad Recipe:  I used President’s Choice gourmet red and yellow cherry tomatoes.  Note that sliced or chopped large tomatoes would work too so use whatever you have on hand or in your garden.  Simply drizzle with some good olive oil, toss in some rinsed and drained capers (the smaller the size, the higher the quality), add some finely chopped fresh herbs (basil or parsley), ground black pepper and salt to taste, and serve.

Other French Themed Picnic (Pique-Nique) Menu Ideas

  • For drinks:  wine, alcoholic ciders, or sparkling juice
  • Condiments that you might want to serve with baguette and salami include mayonnaise or aioli and/or dijon mustard (Maille brand)
  • Try an olive tapenade to spread over slices of baguette
  • Make open faced radish sandwiches by spreading compound butter (ie. taragon butter, chive butter, or garlic and herb butter) on slices of baguette and topping them with thinly sliced fresh radish, salt and pepper
  • Make a salade niçoise or use it to make a pan bagnat (sandwich)
  • Savoury puff pastry tart (ie. asparagus and gruyere tart, tomato tart, onion tart, mushroom tart, etc.)
  • Quiche (if you don’t mind eating it cold)
  • For dessert:
    • fruit tart, ie. peach or fig or plum or raspberry, etc. (Note:  If you’re serving a savoury tart, then don’t serve a dessert tart and vice versa, otherwise the meal will be too rich and you won’t get enough variety)
    • chocolate covered strawberries
    • chocolate truffles
    • simple French cookies such as palmiers (recipe to be posted within the next few months)
    • fresh fruit (pears, strawberries and/or grapes would have been perfect at our picnic)
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