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Carrie Solomon: Delicious, Balanced Breakfasts

Breakfast is supposedly the most important meal of the day. However, few people in France take the time to cook after getting out of bed. Meanwhile, this meal is often more of a ceremony in English-speaking countries. Carrie Solomon, an American chef living in Paris, has decided to bring these two traditions together. In Breakfast All Day, which was just published in France, she shares her delicious, balanced, easy recipes using products found on both sides of the Atlantic.
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© Carrie Solomon

Carrie Solomon has many talents: chef, photographer, culinary stylist, consultant, journalist, and recipe-book author. This Michigan-born American has made a name for herself in the French gastronomic landscape with the fresh, healthy, hearty creations she publishes in her books (Une Américaine à Paris, Mangez de saison !, Food avec les kids, Chefs’ Fridges) and in Elle magazine.

Her career has been as spontaneous as she is. Carrie Solomon never studied cooking, but instead spent a long time visiting the kitchens of the French capital. Today, restaurants actually call her up and ask her to design their menus. This self-taught chef, who moved to France in 2002, has managed to conquer France’s foodies with her extraordinary enthusiasm. “French culinary culture has finally accepted outsiders,” she says. “To the point that there is now a real demand for them.”

The chef is now right at home in her adoptive city, although things were far from plain sailing at the start: “I follow a mostly vegetarian diet and, when I moved here twenty years ago, it was almost impossible to eat at a restaurant without being grumbled at by the server when you asked for a vegetarian option.”

Having collaborated on a dozen cookbooks and with one more on the way, Carrie Solomon has taken on a new mission as a consultant for cafeteria meals in French schools – particularly for the vegetarian options, which became a legally required feature on menus in 2019. “It’s become a sensitive subject,” says the mother-of-two. “I am now working on offering good food which just happens to be vegetarian.”

You can get a preview of the book Breakfast All Day with three of her recipes: toasts with labneh, cucumber, zaatar, and fresh herbs; potato röstis; and toasts with burrata, pesto, and mushrooms. “Labneh is a creamy spread that is perfect for breakfast,” she says. “As it is essentially a concentrated yogurt, it has all the same probiotics but packs an additional protein punch. It also contains less fat, making it a great alternative to cream cheese! You can enjoy it as a savory addition to your meal, but labneh is also delicious with jam, fresh fruit, and honey.”

We guarantee you’ll want to get up early every morning!

Labneh Toasts

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© Carrie Solomon
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© Carrie Solomon

Ingredients (pour 1.1 lb. of labneh)

2.2 lbs. Greek yogurt
1 tsp. salt
4-8 slices toasted bread
1⁄4 cucumber, diced
Olive oil
Za’atar
Fresh herbs (mint, oregano, or thyme)

Preparation

1. Cover a sieve with two layers of cheesecloth. Drain out any excess liquid from the yogurt and add the salt. Pour the salty yoghurt into the sieve and wrap it in the cheesecloth, closing it at the top with a piece of string or a rubber band. Place the sieve in a bowl and keep in the fridge for 8 hours or overnight. (To make a thicker labneh, repeat this part twice.) The labneh can be used immediately afterwards or rolled into small spheres the size of table-tennis balls, around 1.5 oz. each. Store the labneh in an airtight container. If you have rolled it into balls, you can drizzle over a little olive oil to prevent them from sticking together.

2. Serve the labneh spread over the toasted bread. Drizzle over some olive oil and add the diced cucumber (or any other seasonal vegetable), za’atar, fresh herbs, and a sprinkle of fleur de sel.

Potato Röstis

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© Carrie Solomon

Ingredients (serves 4-6)

2.2 lbs. potatoes (agata or bintje)
1 large yellow onion
1 tsp. fine salt
4-6 tbsp. vegetable oil
4-6 slices of smoked trout
4.4 oz. labneh or cream cheese
1.8 oz. Greek yogurt
1/2 tsp. fine salt
Fresh herbs (scallions, chives, or dill)
Fresh ground pepper

Preparation

1. Peel the potatoes and remove the skin from the onion. Grate them using a food processor before pressing them through a sieve to remove excess water. Add salt and stir together.
2. Heat half of the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan, ideally in cast iron, with a diameter around 10 inches. Cook the potato and onion mixture on medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes.
3. Turn off the heat. Put a plate over the pan followed by a cutting board big enough to cover the surface of the pan. Carefully flip the pan onto the chopping board, ideally over the sink to avoid dripping oil onto your countertop. Leave the rösti on the plate, return the pan to the stove and heat the rest of the oil. Put the rösti back in the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes or until each side is nice and brown. Slide the rösti onto a chopping board and cut it into 4-6 triangles.

Burrata, Pesto, and Mushroom Toasts

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© Carrie Solomon

Ingredients (makes 4 toasts)

0.5 oz. butter
2.6 oz. mushrooms (shiitake, oyster, or button)
1 small garlic clove, crushed
4 slices farmhouse bread
2 tbsp. pesto
4.4 oz. burrata
1 tbsp. sesame or sunflower seeds
4 eggs (optional)
Small handful fresh herbs (basil, chives, etc.)
Fleur de sel

Preparation

1. Carefully wash the mushrooms and remove the fibrous stalks. Dry them using a dish towel, ensuring you remove as much water as possible. Chop the mushrooms into medium-sized pieces or leave them whole if smaller.
2. Melt the butter over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and sauté them for 5 minutes. (If you are using thicker mushrooms, this may take
a little longer.) Cook until they are almost done, then carefully stir in the crushed garlic and continue cooking for 1-2 minutes. Do not stir too vigorously or this may break up the mushrooms. Turn off the heat and leave the mixture in the hot pan. Season with a pinch of salt.
3. Toast the bread. Spread the pesto and the burrata on the toast. Place the mushrooms on top and season with a little fleur de sel, olive oil, and fresh herbs. Feel free to add some seeds and a fried egg.

 

Breakfast All Day by Carrie Solomon, La Martinière, 2022.

 

Article published in the April 2022 issue of France-Amérique. Subscribe to the magazine.

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