What's For Dinner: Cognac Cocktail, Celery Salad And Fish Stew

Ring in soup season with a simple French seafood dish

Not feeling inspired by your usual dishes? Here's what's for dinner.

Whether meat- or plant-based, stews are forgiving. They love us back, even if we add an extra handful of leeks or forget to use pepper. So get ahead on soup season with a little French flair, starting with a fish stew that's simple to make and freezable, so you can spread the warmth into the season. Round it out with an elegant cocktail and crispy salad for a meal that's fit for fall.

① Drink: Grape-Cognac Cocktail

The caramel-hued French brandy and muddled grapes mirror the autumnal scenery outside. Skip the frozen grapes if you don't have any on hand, and your drink will still be cool from plenty of ice-shaken cognac.

② Appetizer: Celery Salad

Chris Jaeckle's refreshing starter is like a plate of buffalo chicken wings—minus the wings. The other staples are left intact and cheffed up a bit. Celery stalks and leaves pair up with spicy Calabrian chile oil for a salad with just the right amount of tang, heat and crunch.

③ Main Course: Bourride (Fish Stew with Aioli)

This soup is proof that French doesn't have to mean fancy. Instead, it can mean chunks of lobster-esque monkfish floating in simple, homemade fish stock with tender potatoes and garlicky aioli. Plus, it's an exercise in good economy, since you'll be leaching out every possible drop of the fish's flavor.