French in a Flash: Fresh Olive Oil and Sea Salt Palmiers


[Photograph: Kerry Saretsky]

Palmiers, or elephant ears, are a family tradition. When I was young and would go to Paris with my mom, we would always buy one giant palmier. It was as though if we didn't buy a giant palmier, we somehow had not yet arrived. We would each hold a side and try to snap it, like a wishbone. The bigger half was, of course, the reward in and of itself.

Over the years, I think I've made a hundred different palmiers. Simple sweet ones with just sugar, lavender sugar, citrus zest and sugar, or cinnamon sugar. Chocolate-dipped ones. Savory ones rolled with prosciutto and Gruyère, with tapenade, with pesto, with sundried tomatoes, with Roquefort. They're so easy to make The sweet ones are the perfect accompaniment to ice cream, chocolate fondue, or a plate of fruit, and the savory ones are the best hors d'oeuvre ever. Crisp, flaky, and salty—like a very posh potato chip.

The French do serve fresh potato chips with a glass of wine if you sit in a café before dinner and watch the crowds walk by. These are my potato chip variety of palmier, flavored with nothing but fruity olive oil and crunchy, flaky sea salt. The two flavors mix with the buttery, crisp pastry flavors of the palmiers to make something simple and sophisticated. It's perfect with a glass of wine by yourself, or, if you must, with others.

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Fresh Olive Oil and Sea Salt Palmiers »