January 7, 2006

On Salad...

My disdain for salad started many, many years ago with a bag of iceberg and a bottle of French dressing. Yeck! But, salads in France are wonderful. The vinaigrettes are usually light and tangy, and the greens are usually fresh and crisp. Plus, most salads that are main courses have so much other good stuff on them that you have a hard time seeing the greens. This is love at first sight for someone like me. I am slowly becoming more of a salad person despite all the cheap jokes I make about those people.

At Le Relais Gascon, near Place des Abbesses, their salads are enormous. Earlier this fall, Paul and I would walk past the people sitting outside and almost everyone would have a huge wooden bowl in front of them containing a gigantic salad. When we ate there the next week, I believe I ordered the salade du chef, which had salad greens, chunks of roasted chicken, chunks of emmenthal, hard-boiled egg, carrots, cucumbers, a light vinaigrette and was covered with sautéed garlicky potatoes. That was my kind of salad. Paul ordered the one with greens, lardons (chunks of bacon), chevre, egg, carrots, etc, and, of course, those potatoes. All this is supposed to be representative of the food from the southwest of France, or at least the quantity of food.

A salad I really like to make a home is a Salad with Avocado and Oranges. I love the combination of flavors and it doesn't hurt that it’s so damn pretty. Clementines are plentiful here in the markets, so we are always likely to have some around.

Salade aux Avocats et Clementines

2 large handfuls of salad greens
(I like something sturdy for this; a mixture of romaine, spinach or bibb lettuce is nice)
½ ripe avocado, sliced
2 clementines, peeled with segments separated
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced

vinaigrette: (an approximation)

1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. orange or lemon juice
1 tsp. Dijon mustard (or more)
2-3 Tbsp. olive oil

Whisk together vinegar, juice and mustard. Season with salt and pepper. Whisk in oil to incorporate. Combine salad greens, avocado and clementines. Drizzle with vinaigrette. Serves 2.

Le Relais Gascon
6, rue des Abbesses
75018 Paris

No comments: