The lazy days of summer give us more time to spend with friends, which means it’s a great time to kick off a supper club! All you need are a few willing couples to agree to take turns hosting the group for dinner.
I set the recipes below to follow a French bistro theme, simply because I needed to reign myself in to a menu. Your supper club menus can be as casual or as formal as your group prefers.Have your guests help out by bringing wine, beer or cocktails that might complement the meal.
Croque Monsieur (Serves 4 to 8)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
Pinch of nutmeg
5 ounces Gruyère/Swiss cheese, grated
6 rolls or 12 slices white sandwich bread
6 tablespoons Blackberry jam
1 pound Black Forest ham, sliced, but not too thin
2 cups arugula
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Melt the butter over low heat in a small saucepan and stir in the flour all at once. Stir constantly until the flour absorbs the butter. Slowly pour the milk into the butter–flour mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce is thickened. Remove from the heat add the salt, pepper, nutmeg, 1 cup grated Gruyère and set aside. Butter the insides of the rolls or bread. Layer the jam, ham, arugula and some of the remaining shredded Gruyere cheese. Spread Dijon mustard on the bottom of the top bun and place it on top of the sandwich.
Spread the cheese sauce on the top of each sandwich, sprinkle any last Gruyère, and bake the sandwiches for 5 to 8 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil for 2 minutes, or until the topping is bubbly and browned. Serve hot.
4 large potatoes, peeled
Oil for frying
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons truffle oil
1/2 cup Parmesan or Romano cheese
1 tablespoon parsley, minced
Cut the potatoes lengthwise into thin strips, about 1/3-inch in width. Soak the potatoes in ice-cold water for 1 hour, drain, and pat completely dry. Heat the oil in a deep fryer or deep skillet to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and fry the potatoes, in batches, for 2 minutes. Drain the fries on paper towels. Fry the potatoes for a second time, in batches, for 1 to 2 minutes more. Drain the fries on cooling racks lined with paper towels.
Place the fries in a large bowl. Season them with the salt then drizzle them with the truffle oil. Then toss them until coated. Sprinkle them with grated cheese and fresh parsley and toss again until seasoned. Reheat on a baking sheet at 350 degrees for 5 minutes.
Hazelnut Crème Brulee
8 egg yolks
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla puree
1 teaspoon hazelnut extract
1/4 cup granulated sugar for caramelized tops
Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, whisk eggs and sugar together until thick and pale yellow. Add cream, and vanilla. Line a glass casserole dish with paper towels or a dish cloth. Set the ramekins on top of the towel. Strain egg and cream mixture into bowls, skimming off any bubbles with a spoon. Pour water into the bottom of the pan until it reaches half way up the ramekins. Bake for 50 minutes or until the mixture is set around the edges but slightly loose in the center. Let the ramekins cool in the pan. Then refrigerate for at least 2 hours up to 2 days.
When you’re ready to serve, spoon enough granulated sugar over the tops of each ramekin. Heat the sugar with a kitchen torch or place under your oven broiler until the tops are browned slightly, but not scorched. Serve immediately or chill for no more than 1 hour.