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Smoked Sausage with Potato Salad and Frontières

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Frontières: The Food of France’s Borderlands, written by Alex Jackson, features an incredible collection of over 80 favorite and lesser known dishes inspired by the regional cuisines across the French border, Mediterranean, and North Africa. A few highlights include Poulet Basquaise, Brik à l’Oeuf, Salt Cod in Wine Sauce (Morue en Raïto), Tagliatelle with Walnuts & Lovage (Taillerins), and Salade Strasbourgeoise. I will also be sharing his recipe for Smoked Sausage with Potato Salad following the review.Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Interlink Publishing in exchange for my honest review. All comments and opinions are my own. This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you purchase something through the link, I may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.Alex JacksonAlex Jackson grew up in Birmingham and is currently the head chef at Noble Rot Soho in London.He developed a passion for French cuisine while living in Paris as part of his French degree at university and that passion continued to grow after working in Stevie Parle’s Dock Kitchen.Alex is also the author of Sardine (reissued as Provençal).FrontièresAlex begins Frontières with a short introduction. In addition to all the fantastic recipes and inviting photography, I was particularly engaged by the writing.I found myself reading the headnotes for every single dish, not just the ones I was making during this review. I think my favorite line is hidden under the recipe for Gratin de Ravioles du Royans- “Good small store-bought ravioli with a cheese filling are an acceptable shortcut for when you want to minimize the time that it takes to get it into your face.”There are also a few cultural notes scattered across the pages with a closer look at different topics such as Cassoulet, Bouillabaisse, and Pasta.Chapters are divided based on region: The Southwest, North Africa, The Riviera, The Alps, and Alsace. The contents have a list of included recipes with page number for easy reference.The photography is provided by Charlotte Bland. Many of the recipes are paired with a beautifully-styled photo of the finished dish.Measurements are listed in US Customary and Metric. Titles are written in English and/or French. Each recipe has a detailed headnote with background information, personal stories, helpful tips, yield, and serving ideas.Smoked Sausage with Potato SaladI happened to have some Smoked Sausage in the refrigerator, so I was immediately drawn to the Smoked Sausage with Potato Salad in the Alsace chapter. Alex was inspired to make this dish after enjoying a version at Chez Yvonne in Strasbourg.Compared to the mayonnaise-based potato salad popular here in the states (that I do enjoy on occasion), this potato salad has a light, yet creamy dressing made simply with a little stock, oil, crème fraîche, and drizzle of pickling juice.The longest part is boiling the potatoes. Everything else comes together in minutes for a wonderfully hearty lunch.A Few NotesThe exact boiling time on the potatoes will differ based on the size. Cook just until tender through the center when pierced with a fork. Mine usually take around 20-30 minutes. Waxy potatoes are best to hold their shape with boiling and tossing in the dressing.Slice the red onion as thinly as possible. A mandoline would work well to get even slices (I am often too lazy to bring it out- it is on a high shelf and I am short).The recipe for horseradish cream is in the book. I mixed finely grated horseradish with a little sugar, lemon juice, and crème fraîche.I paired the potato salad with smoked bratwurst from my local German market. If the specialty Maennerstolz pork and beef sausage from Strasbourg is not available, Alex recommends swapping for Polish Kiełbasa śląska.Other DishesI also made Frites-Omelette, Macaroni au Pilaf, Gratin de Crozets, and Spaetzle au Gratin with Munster & Bacon.The Frites-Omelette recipe comes from the North Africa chapter. Beaten eggs are pan-fried and filled with fries, onion, chile, and fresh herbs for quite the fantastic use of leftovers. The mixture is served on a plate (or in a baguette) with optionally Merguez sausages and a bit of Harissa for heat.The Macaroni au Pilaf is an incredibly comforting meal with minimal prep from The Alps chapter. Small macaroni are simmered in stock with onions and porcini until tender. Plenty of grated cheese and freshly ground black pepper are added right before serving.Gratin de Crozets also comes from The Alps. This was so fun to make! Tiny little pasta squares are made with a buckwheat and “00” flour (you can also go with store-bought), then baked in a crème fraîche sauce with an Alpine cheese topping until golden and bubbly. Alex recommends pairing it with sausage and simmered Savoy cabbage.Another delicious use for leftovers, this Spaetzle au Gratin with Munster & Bacon from the Alsace chapter is the ultimate comfort food. Homemade Spätzle is paired with Alsatian Munster cheese and lots of bacon before baking until “the cheese has melted and formed a crust with the crisp bacon, and all within is bubbling molten delicious goo.”Frontières is a fantastic pick for those interested in the cuisines situated around the borders of France. There is an incredible variety of options and flavors from quick and easy meals to longer simmering stews.Many of the ingredients are available in larger American grocery stores. A few items that may require further searching include langoustines, smoked eel, pork belly, duck fat, Merguez sausages, “00” flour, semolina flour, zucchini flowers, chestnut flour, porcini mushrooms, crème fraîche, and buckwheat flour.Smoked Sausage with Potato Salad RecipeExcerpt from FrontièresSmoked Sausage with Potato SaladA recipe for Smoked Sausage with Potato Salad. Inspired by Alsace, tender potato slices are coated in a light dressing and served with smoked sausages. Keyword alsace, Alsatian, France, French, pickle, potato, potato salad, salad, sausage Prep Time 15 minutes minutes Cook Time 5 minutes minutes Total Time 20 minutes minutesIngredientsFor the Potato Salad:4 waxy potatoes1 red onion very thinly slicedA few cornichons chopped into 1/4 inch (5 millimeter) lengths, plus a little of their pickling juice1 tablespoon sweet mustard3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil2 tablespoons Crème Fraîche3 1/2 tablespoons light chicken stockSalt and freshly ground black pepperTo serve:2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley and chives1 cooked smoked sausage Alex’s local butcher sells pork and beef Polish Kiełbasa śląska that are very delicious, either boiled or slightly scored and roasted in a hot ovenSweet mustardHorseradish cream recipe in bookInstructionsBoil the potatoes in a pot of lightly salted water until soft.Drain and cool until you can handle them (but try to keep warm as they will absorb the dressing better), peel, and slice across the diameter into slices no smaller than 1/2 inch (1 centimeter) thick.Toss the still-warm potatoes in a bowl with the sliced onion and cornichons.Add the sweet mustard, olive oil, and crème fraîche, and moisten with a little chicken stock to your preference- more stock will make the salad looser.Drizzle a little of the pickle juice from the cornichons jar, to taste.Season well with salt and black pepper.Mix well and serve warm or at room temperature, sprinkled with the parsley and chives, alongside the hot sausage and the condiments.

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