It should come as no surprise that Susan and I are fans of the Food Network. We happened to stumble on a show called “The Sandwich King” and he was describing a date night sandwich menu. We liked a couple of his ideas but instead of doing three sandwich courses we picked one and paired it with a soup for our date night.
The soup was a French Onion soup. The recipe comes from the queen of French cooking, Julia Child. French Onion soup is not difficult to make, slice up a bunch of onions, let them caramelize in a heavy pot for about 20 minutes, stir in a little flour and cook for a couple of minutes to brown the flour, add stock, red wine, a bay leaf and some sage and let it simmer for about 30 minutes. The secret to Julia’s recipe is she adds about half a grated onion and a dash of Cognac to the soup just before serving which adds a very bright fresh flavor to the soup. Looking at the picture your probably asking where is the thick layer of cheese over the top? We found in France that they don’t serve it that way. We grated some cheese into the soup before serving to thicken it, and the there is toasted cheese on round of french bread floating on the top, but that’s it. Served this way the flavor and texture of the soup shines through.
Now for the Crostini. These were great. First, every sandwich needs a spread and the Sandwich King came up with an interesting take on pesto, a rosemary pesto. I’ll admit now, we cheated, we took part of a jar of store bought pesto that we had in the fridge and added some fresh rosemary to it in a food processor. Yummy. The ingredient that isn’t readily apparent from the picture is a schmear of cheese on the crostini under the filet slices. His recipe calles for gorgonzola, which I like but is a little strong for Susan’s taste, for her’s we used Boursin. A few toasted slices of crusty bread, two sliced medium rare filet mignons, and some sliced cherry tomatoes are the only other ingredients. We liked these so much we served them again a few days later when Susan’s cousin came over for dinner.
For the wine we went with a wonderful Napa cab from the Stags Leap district, Hartwell 2004 Estate Reserve. If you ever have the chance to try any of the Hartwell wines we highly recommend them.
This was a wonderful date night menu, one we will repeat. We made it just for 2 but it easily scales for a crowd, especially if you have a few friends that don’t mind helping with the prep and assembly of the crostini.