The French Appetizers cookbook review is part of our ongoing series of (mostly) Canadian cookbook reviews! This month we review Marie Asselin's latest cookbook, French Appetizers.
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The French Appetizers cookbook by Marie Asselin, beautifully photographed by Catherine Côté, lists 75 fresh and versatile recipes for l’apéro. This is Marie's second cookbook (you can read my review of her first cookbook, Simply Citrus).
L’apero is the French evening ritual comparable to happy hour when people gather for drinks and cocktail snacks at the end of the day. In my office working days, I attended many happy hours and they didn't compare to the French l’apéro.
In this chapter Marie shares her life experience with l’apéro and why, to this day, it’s an essential ritual in her life. Other information included:
- About the recipes in this book
- What to serve for l’apéro?
- How to plan a stress-free apéro
- Menu ideas
- Set the mood (lists link to Marie’s playlist featuring French-inspired cocktail hour music)
Chapters with Sample Recipes
There are 75 recipes spread among seven chapters. They are well written and straightforward, and all include a headnote. Some of the recipes list variations. Beautiful colour photos are displayed throughout the cookbook.
Basics and Condiments
- Classic Pictou, Eggplant Caviar, Beet, Goat Cheese, and Orange Dip
Small Bites (Grignotines)
- Instant Fish Rillettes: Three Ways, Marinated Mushrooms, Pistachio Falafel
Savory Cakes and Tarts
- Caramelized Fennel, Lemon and Comté Cake, Cherry Tomato, Spinach, and Goat Cheese Sheet Pan Quiche, Tapenade and Parmesan Madeleines
Breads, Sandwiches, and Toasts
- Fig, Walnut and Orange Fougasse, Fresh Herb Pissaladière, Baked Croque Monsieur Fingers
- Cauliflower and Apple Velouté, Carrot, Pistachio, and Hummus Verrine
- Spiced Madeleines with Salted Caramel Sauce, Strawberry-Lemon Yogurt Sheet Cake, Chocolate and Tahini Sablés
Drinks (À boire)
- Fruit and Flower Syrups, Easy Cocktails
Recipes I Made in My Kitchen
I was one of the recipe testers for French Appetizers, so I had the privilege of testing some recipes before the cookbook was published. Three of the recipes I tested were:
- Zucchini, Cured Ham and Goat Cheese Muffins (Page 58)
- Marinated Mushrooms (Page 41)
- Spiced Madeleines with Salted Caramel Sauce (Page 93)
All three recipes turned out so good that I’ve made them again for my family. They had difficulty deciding which one they loved the best.
For this review, I was indecisive as to which recipes to make as they all looked so good. Finally I chose the following recipes and linked to Marie’s French-inspired cocktail hour music to set the mood for cooking.
Gougères, Four Ways (Page 38)
Out of the four flavours to choose, I chose the Classic Gruyère Gougères just because I love the taste of Gruyère. Sometimes my choux pastry doesn’t always turn out, but this time it turned out perfectly. The gougères were delicious and addictive.
Cauliflower and Apple Velouté (Page 86)
The colourful garnishes make an appealing contrast to this white soup. I like cauliflower, and since I can only eat cooked apples, this was the perfect soup to make so we could all enjoy it. It was easy to make. Served warm and garnished with chopped shrimp and apple matchsticks (except for mine), it makes a delicious soup.
Pistachio Falafel (Page 44)
These Pistachio Falafel are so easy to make. You add all the ingredients to a food processor bowl, pulse, shape them with a mini cookie scoop, and bake. At first bite, you can taste the Middle Eastern flavour of the combined pistachios, chickpeas and mint. They were so good that the 40 Pistachio Falafel disappeared in no time. I served them with Any-Bean Hummus (Page 25).
- 1 (15.5 ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed, drained and patted dry
- ½ cup shelled, toasted pistachios
- ½ cup almond flour
- ¼ cup fresh mint leaves
- ¼ cup fresh flat leaf parsley leaves
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (about ½ a lemon)
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon cardamom powder
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400F
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
- In a food processor, add all the ingredients. Pulse, frequently scraping down the sides of the bowl, until you reach a coarse but uniform texture. Remove the bowl from the processor and pull out the blade.
- Using a mini cookie scoop or your hands, roll the falafel mixture into balls and set onto the baking sheet.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes, until the falafel are lightly golden and firm to the touch.
- Let cool for 10 minutes before serving; this will allow the falafel to firm up and reach their ideal texture.
Is French Appetizers Bookshelf Worthy?
Reading through French Appetizers and testing the recipes inspires me to host l'apéro, as it will you. Friends or family will appreciate a casual evening of eating delicious savoury and sweet food accompanied by cocktails and good conversation, while listening to French-inspired cocktail music like Sous le Ciel de Paris and C’est si Bon.
And, if you have kids, Marie has it covered.
“My trick is to serve a ‘mini-apéro' to kids on a play table so they can keep busy and eat dinner while the adults can (finally) take an hour or two to catch up.”
The French Appetizers cookbook offers 75 delicious, easy-to-make recipes for l'apéro, the French ritual for friends to gather and catch up at the end of the day. So yes, the French Appetizer cookbook is bookshelf worthy.
Author: Marie Asselin
Hardcover: 128 Pages
Publisher: Gibbs Smith
Excerpted from French Appetizers by Marie Asselin. Text Copyright © 2019 Marie Asselin. Photographs © Copyright 2019 Catherine Côté. Published by Gibbs Smith. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.
A review copy of French Appetizers was provided by Gibbs Smith.
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- Cookbook Corner: Simply Citrus by Marie Asselin
- Cookbook Corner: Modern Lunch by Allison Day
- 50 Party Appetizers, Drinks, & Dips For New Year's Entertaining
The French Appetizers cookbook review was written by Liliana Tommasini, author of the aptly named blog My Cookbook Addiction. Her passion for baking and cooking began at an early age. Liliana grew up in an Italian household where each meal was made from scratch with fresh ingredients and Sunday family lunches were always a celebration. She has a passion for collecting cookbooks and believes that every recipe tells a story that must be shared to nourish your soul and feed your belly. You can connect with Liliana on Twitter, Facebookand Instagram.