French
Pita aux crevettes

This open-faced pita sandwich with shrimp in curried mayo on a bed of bacon and arugula and topped with fresh dill is an example of why I’ve often thought this site should be renamed “Meg Has Lunch.” Like many dishes offered by The everyday French chefit was invented one day when I walked into the kitchen at lunchtime wondering what to make, checked the fridge to see what we had on hand and found a happy combination.

Shrimp Pita / Open pita sandwich with shrimp and bacon

Preparation is quick and easy. You can use fresh or frozen shrimp and store-bought or homemade mayonnaise (tip: homemade is better!). The peeled shrimp are steamed until pink, then dipped in a mayonnaise sauce with a pinch of curry powder (or spicy curry powder if you have it) and a pinch of lemon juice and salt. The bacon strips are cut in half and fried until crispy. A pita cut in half is toasted. And then you assemble the sandwich: half a toasted pita, mayonnaise, bacon, arugula, shrimp and some fresh dill fronds on top.

I’ve been experimenting with open-faced pita sandwiches all winter and have found many other winners. A favorite is chopped egg with olive oil, onion and dill or cilantro, perfect for vegetarians. Another is smoked mackerel with olive oil, lemon juice, chopped onion and fresh herbs. All of these sandwiches can be made in minutes. For light eaters, a single sandwich with some tender leaves and cherry tomatoes alongside makes a great lunch. For larger appetites, make two sandwiches per person.

It’s still raining here in Paris as I write this, but we’ve had a couple of days where it felt like spring. I actually saw an iris in a public garden bed last week – quite early, in fact (crocuses and daffodils usually come first). And the willows along the Seine have turned the shade of green you might see in a Renoir painting. So things are getting better.

With Easter just around the corner, here are some seasonal recipes you might try for a festive meal: eggs with homemade mayonnaise or eggs mimosa, Moroccan roast rack of lamb or leg of lamb, spiced roast chicken, pea risotto fresh and mint and, for dessert, strawberry foam cake. If you want to start the celebrations with an aperitif, I recommend a mimosa cocktail of champagne and orange juice, a kir royal of champagne and blackcurrant liqueur or… simply champagne!

The everyday French chef will take a spring break this year. I’ll be back with a new post in three weeks, Friday April 12th. Happy cooking!

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