This was my 2nd Christmas in a row that I've celebrated in France. The first time, I had the unfortunate luck of coming down with the flu, and was bedridden most of the week of Christmas. I even slept right through Christmas dinner. That being said, this year was much much better.
Christmas Eve, as is the usual, is spent at Quentin's parent's home. They celebrate with a big family dinner the night before Christmas and open the gifts that night. Who doesn't love opening presents early?
Christmas Eve dinner is a little different here than it is in the States. Back home I imagine a perfectly spiral-cut honey glazed ham with buttery mashed potatoes and my Dad's pumpkin pie. In the Isackson home, we started with the aperitif; bowls full of mini boudin noir and boudin blanc, green olives(my favorite), and salty pistachios which were all washed down with a few glasses of foamy eggnog (a little American tradition was inserted here and there).
Dinner started with a typically French Christmas specialty: Foie Gras. Foie gras is the liver of a fattened goose or duck. The way foie gras is made is not the most ethical. I won't go into detail, but one basically force-feeds the animal to make it delectably plump. It is however, absolutely delicious. It has that devilishly creamy and you know it's not good for you taste... like butter, only meatier. So we started with toasted bread, topped with slices of foie gras, and quickly moved on to the main dish... Le Chapon de Cyrano de Bergerac: capon or castrated rooster stuffed with (more) foie gras and chestnuts. Delicious. Following that was of course lots of cheese and then 3 different desserts... I hadn't been full like that since I was in the States. My stomach hurt so good.
So for my last Tartine Tuesday of 2010 I give you something simple and straight from France...
Foie Gras and Fleur de Sel Tartines
8 slices of foie gras
8 slices of baguette or toast
fleur de sel
Toast slices of baguette until brown and crispy. Top with the slices of foie gras and sprinkle fleur de sel on top. Serves 2.