Last time I was in Paris I stayed with my friend Pauline. She's very French, but grew up in the U.S. and her palate is, while refined, prone to go slumming. While working at Vogue, she would wander down to the vending machine and buy a single-serving baggie of Cheez-Its. When she left the magazine, as a joke, I purchased a huge box of those little bags of greasy cheese crackers, wrapped it in the fancy gold-and-silver Vogue wrapping paper and had it delivered via messenger to Hermès, her new swanky place of work. Co-workers were curious what the gift was...imagine their shock when she revealed the contents. Personally, I think Cheez-Its are almost the same hue of that signature Hermès orange, no?
Pauline and I traipsed around Paris and ate only the most beautiful of foods from the market in her neighborhood, as well as pounds of butter (I think she had three different options in her refrigerator), and basketfuls of flaky croissants and golden-crusted baguettes. I don't regret the 3 kilos I gained on that trip.
The only thing I do regret is that our teenage boy-like palates didn't lead us to order what some tourists we spied on a sidewalk café had: paté and fries. At the same time. The waiter looked appropriately displeased, but, I thought it was brilliant. Next time I'm in Paris, I will not speak French nor pretend to be chic. I will order paté and fries, and nothing else.
In the meantime, as an ode to Pauline and to those tourists who don't know any better, I'm eating this swanky sandwich that's spread with paté, topped with baby kale lightly tossed in a champagne vinegar-based vinaigrette, and, wait for it...tater tots. Bon appétit!
- 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
- 2 teaspoons champagne vinegar
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 shallot, thinly sliced
- 4 (5-inch long) pieces baguette, split in half
- 2 ounces paté
- 24 tater tots, cooked according to package directions
- 1 1/2 cups loosely packed greens (such as arugula or baby kale)
In large bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon mustard and vinegar. While whisking, slowly drizzle in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Add shallots and toss to coat.
Spread one side of each piece of baguette with remaining 2 tablespoons mustard. Divide paté into 4 portions and spread over the mustard. Whisk vinaigrette to recombine, then add greens and toss to coat. Divide greens among sandwiches and top with tater tots. Serve.