Perfect French Appetizers

There's a simple elegance to the first course of a French meal: bright herbs, rich butters, tangy vinegars and mustards. From classics like steak tartare to escargots à these 10 French appetizers make for an impeccable start to any meal.

Escargots a la Bourguignonne (Snails in Garlic-Herb Butter)
Snails in Garlic-Herb Butter
Use good-quality canned snails and store-bought snail shells to make this timeless garlic-and-herb-flavored dish.
See the recipe for Escargots a la Bourguignonne »
Landon Nordeman
Provençal Stuffed Squid
Provencal Stuffed Squid
Fresh squid of every size, and cuttlefish too, are found at fishmongers throughout Provence. Lulu buys the tiny ones to fry, but chooses medium-size squid to stuff with herbs, chard, and bread crumbs (she prefers chard to spinach under most circumstances). To make things easier, the squid can be prepared in advance and cooked later in the day, roasted, grilled, or braised. Serve warm or at room temperature, drizzled with fruity oil or an anchovy vinaigrette. Get the recipe for Provençal Stuffed Squid »Justin Walker
Duck Pâté en Croûte
Duck Pate En Croute
Pâté is a labor of love, but it's worth every step, especially when you bake it in flaky homemade pastry dough and top it with a flavorful gelée. Here, being careful to keep the ingredients cold during the process, and taking the same care when folding and filling the dough, yields a pâté that everyone will write home about. Get the recipe for Duck Pâté en Croûte »Matt Taylor-Gross
Black Olive Tapenade
Black Olive Tapenade
Tapenade, the traditional Provençal condiment made with black olives, is great on toasts, grilled fish, and roasts. Get the recipe for Black Olive Tapenade »Justin Walker
Tartare de Filet de Boeuf (Steak Tartare)
Steak Tartare
The key to finely chopping filet mignon for this classic tartare is to chill it in the freezer before slicing and mincing it. Get the recipe for Tartare de Filet de Boeuf (Steak Tartare) »Landon Nordeman
Pissaladieres (Onion and Anchovy Tarts)
Onion and Anchovy Tarts
Based on the classic French caramelized-onion tart with olives and anchovies, these little two-bite hors d'oeuvres pack a flavorful punch. See the recipe for Pissaladieres »Todd Coleman
Three Cheese Gougères
Chablis Three Cheese Gougeres
Three distinct cheeses are incorporated into this classic savory pâte à choux snack. More cheese is sprinkled over the tops of the gougères to produce a golden crust. See the recipe for Three Cheese Gougères »Ingalls Photography
Creamy Mushroom and Mussel Tart
Creamy Mushroom and Mussel Tart
Mussels are blanketed under a thick cheese-and-cream mornay sauce in this savory tart recipe from Miquelon home cook Paulette Boissel. See the recipe for Creamy Mushroom and Mussel Tart »Penny De Los Santos
Deviled Eggs With Crab
Deviled Eggs With Crab
Chef Yves Camdeborde assembles these haute deviled eggs—the whites marinated in soy sauce and pomegranate vinegar—à la minute at his stand-up bar L'Avant Comptoir de la Mer in Paris, but you can make the filling up to a day in advance and keep it refrigerated. Be sure to drain the whites immediately after 15 minutes of marinating so they don't toughen. Get the recipe for Deviled Eggs With Crab »Matt Taylor-Gross
French Piped Potatoes (Pommes Duchesse)
French Piped Potatoes (Pommes Duchesse)
Elegant potatoes are brushed with an egg wash before baking for color and crunch. Get the recipe for French Piped Potatoes (Pommes Duchesse) »Ingalls Photography