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Serge Week + How to Host a Listening Party

Happy Serge Week!

This week, Histoire De Melody Nelson author Darran Anderson will take over the blog for all things Serge.

October 24th is the official release date, so order your copy now!

Last weekend, a few colleagues and I got together for a Serge Gainsbourg-themed listening party. We listened to decades of French music to set the tone and finally Histoire de Melody Nelson. We ate French food and of course consumed alcohol (Serge wouldn’t have it any other way).

Want to host your own Serge listening party?

I compiled this Gainsbourg-themed menu and it was a hit.

To Start

Toasted Baguette with Brie and Avocado
Well, this one is a bit obvious: French bread, French cheese.

Balsamic Tuna on Crackers
Sort of a riff on the classic salad Niçoise, this delicious tuna is meant to evoke a Parisian café at lunch.

The Mains

Braised Cabbage
Serge didn’t think he was very attractive and was self-conscious of his large ears. He is known to have thought of himself as a cabbage head and even wrote an entire concept album about it (refer to the beginning of this post). I thought it would be appropriate to serve cabbage.

Couscous with Roasted Eggplant , Tomatoes and Garlic
I had a similar dish at Café Gitane in New York City. Serge smoked Gitanes his entire adult life. I may be reaching for the stars here with this Serge connection, but when you taste this couscous you’ll thank me.

French Lentil Soup
Paris in the winter. This soup is perfectly paired with a double-listen of Historie de Melody Nelson

Here are the recipes:

Brie

Toasted Baguette with Brie and Avocado

Makes 30 pieces

You will need:

1 small baguette cut into ½ inch slices
1 ½ lb. wedge of brie cut into 1 inch squares
1 avocado
grainy mustard
cubed pancetta (optional)

Method:

  1. Heat your oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Lay the bread slices on a metal baking sheet. Spread ¼ teaspoon of mustard on each slice.
  3. Slice the avocado into thin slivers and place on top of the mustard.
  4. Add the slices of Brie and bake for 8-10 minutes so that the Brie bubbles and the bread is toasted.

tuna

Balsamic Tuna

Makes 30 pieces

You will need:

3 cans of tuna in olive oil
1/3 cup good Balsamic vinegar (I like the brand Fini)
¼ cup olive oil
1 fresh Roma tomato, chopped
½ small red onion, chopped
¼ cup pitted Kalamata olives
½ teaspoon onion powder
Salt and pepper
½ an avocado, chopped
30 crackers

Method:

  1. Open and drain each can of tuna and add to a large bowl.
  2. Mash the tuna with a fork and slowly add the vinegar and oil.
  3. Add the tomato, olives, onion powder and red onion. Continue to mix with a fork and add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Refrigerate for at least and hour and add the avocado just before serving.
  5. Spoon 1 teaspoon of the tuna onto each of the crackers (I used Melba toasts).

DSC_7780

Braised Cabbage

Serves 8

You will need:

1 small head of red cabbage
3 cups water
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon whole cumin seeds
Salt

Method:

  1. Chop the cabbage into wedges and then thin ribbons. You should have about 5 cups of sliced cabbage.
  2. In a large pot, heat the cabbage, a pinch of salt and the water over medium heat. Cook the cabbage like this for 5 minutes.
  3. Turn the heat down to low, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes until the cabbage is no longer crunchy. You may need to add water as needed.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a small non-stick skillet. Toast the cumin seeds for about 5 minutes until they become fragrant and start to smoke. Set aside.
  5. When the cabbage is soft, drain any excess water and add the cumin seeds and more salt to taste.

couscous

Couscous with Roasted Eggplant , Tomatoes and Garlic

Serves 8

You will need:

2 cups Israeli couscous
2 ½ cups water
½ cup olive oil
1 dry pint grape tomatoes
15 cloves of garlic
1 small eggplant, cubed
1 teaspoon rock salt

Method:

  1. Preheat your over to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, eggplant and whole garlic cloves. Add the oil and salt and toss to combine. Spread the vegetables on a metal baking sheet or large glass baking dish. Cook for 15 minutes and then remove from oven to turn vegetables. Return to oven and cook for an additional 15-20 minutes until the vegetables are golden brown and fragrant.
  3. In a medium-sized pot, heat a splash of olive oil over medium heat. Add the dry Israeli couscous and cook for 3 minutes or until the kernels start to brown. Add the water (it will hiss and bubble) and turn down the heat to low. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.
  4. Combine the cooked couscous and vegetables in a large bowl. Serve warm or at room temperature.

French lentil soup

French Lentil Soup

Serves 8

Adapted from Epicurious.com 

You will need:

3 tablespoons extra–virgin olive oil
2 cups chopped onions
1/4 cup diced pancetta or smoky bacon
1 cup chopped celery stalks
1 cup chopped carrots
2 garlic cloves, chopped
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1 1/4 cups French lentils, rinsed, drained
1 14 ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 Tablespoons Balsamic vinegar

Method:

1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium–high heat. Add the pancetta and cook for 2 minutes. Then add the onions, celery, carrots, and garlic; sauté until vegetables begin to brown, about 15 minutes.

2. Add 4 cups broth, 1 cup water lentils, and tomatoes with juice and bring to boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until lentils are tender, about 45 minutes.

3. Turn the flame off and allow soup to cool slightly. Add 2 cups of the mixture to a blender and puree (or use an immersion blender).

4. Add the paprika and balsamic before serving.

One comment

  1. Tosh Berman

    I just read the Melody Nelson book and I love it. i published Gilles Verlant’s great biography on Gainsbourg, as well as published Gainsbourg’s “Evguenie Sokolov” for my press TamTam Books. Thanks for listing my two books in the back of your book. But really, the author has a real understanding of Gainsbourg and his work. I highly recommend the Melody Nelson book as well as the album.

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