As featured in “Tasting Paris” by Clotilde Dusoulier
Paris used to be a hostile place for vegetarians—let alone vegans. Outside of a handful of vegetarian restaurants, waiters and chefs had no idea what plant-based eating was about. Restaurant menus were devoid of meat-free options, and vegetarians had to settle for a hodgepodge of sides or a bowl of soup.
The Paris food scene experienced a historic shift toward vegetables around the turn of the twentieth century; chef Alain Passard led the charge with a disruptive all-vegetable menu served at his three-star restaurant. It is now common to find inspired vegetarian courses at contemporary bistros, and the city is peppered with restaurants devoted to plant-based dining, the kind where you can take your omnivore friends and not have them notice the absence of meat. Chief among them is gastro-vegan restaurant Le Potager de Charlotte, where a signature appetizer is the avocat facon oeuf mimosa, a “deviled egg” avocado with turmeric-yellow hummus taking the place of the mashed yolk, and toasted squash seeds for crunch. I serve a bunch of them on a platter, with spoons for eating, for brunch; they look so appetizing and are always the first item to disappear.
1 (15-ounce/400 g) can or jar chickpeas, rinsed and drained (see Note)
2 teaspoons tahini
1 garlic clove
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
Fine sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, or more to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 avocados (about 6 ounces/170 g each), halved and pitted
1 teaspoon smoked or regular paprika
Fleur de sel, for serving
½ cup (115 g) squash seeds, toasted
3 tablespoons finely chopped chives
Note • To use home-cooked chickpeas, you’ll need 1¹⁄³ cups (240 g): Soak ½ cup (110 g) dried chickpeas overnight and cook in a saucepan of boiling water until cooked through and tender, about 1 hour. Drain well.
In a food processor, process the chickpeas, tahini, garlic, turmeric, 1 teaspoon salt, the pepper, lemon juice, oil, and 3 tablespoons water until smooth. Add a little more water, tablespoon by tablespoon, as needed until creamy but still scoopable. Taste and add more salt or lemon juice as needed.
Scoop 2 rounded tablespoons of hummus into each avocado “hole,” as for deviled eggs.
Arrange on a serving platter. Sprinkle with the paprika, fleur de sel, squash seeds, and chives.
Reprinted from Tasting Paris. Copyright © 2018 by Clotilde Dusoulier. Photographs copyright © 2018 by Nicole Franzen. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.
“Tasting Paris” features new and classic French recipes and cooking techniques that will demistify the art of French cooking and transport your dinner guests to Paris. Whether you have experienced the charm of Paris many times or dream of planning your first trip, here you will find the food that makes this city so beloved. Featuring classic recipes like Roast Chicken with Herbed Butter and Croutons, and Profiteroles, as well as newer dishes that reflect the way Parisians eat today, such as Ratatouille Pita Sandwich with Chopped Eggs and Tahini Sauce and Spiralized Zucchini Salad with Peach and Green Almonds. With 100 recipes, 125 evocative photographs, and native Parisian Clotilde Dusoulier’s expertise, “Tasting Paris” transports you to picnicking along the Seine, shopping the robust open-air markets, and finding the best street food—bringing the flavors and allure of this favorite culinary destination to your very own kitchen.