Before meeting my first French boyfriend in New York, the idea of having a salad as a main meal never even crossed my mind. I’ve since changed, of course, and even my children expect to be fed salad for dinner every once in awhile. And since it’s summer, what better time?
There is this salad called “salade compagnarde” or “salade paysanne,” both of which suggest a sort of hearty, country salad with bacon and potatoes. I haven’t been able to determine any difference in the two, even from asking my mother-in-law and from looking online. Do any of you dear, francophile readers know the difference?
Anyway, there is naturally some flexibility in preparing this salad, but I think I’ve got all the basics covered here.
Start with some curly salad.
Okay that was a direct translation – no idea what it’s called in English.
Chop up some cherry tomatoes. Good ones! It is sacrilege in my mind to ruin a perfectly good salad with pale, tasteless tomatoes. Don’t you agree?
And dice some buttery cheese like Swiss, Gruyère or Comté if you have it.
Now you’ll need to fry up some bacon, or “lardons” which is more common here.
I’m sorry if you don’t like bacon. It must go in.
Add a boiled, sliced potato – this is what the salad looks like so far.
And add some cooked, although near-crispy green beans. (This is not strictly necessary, but who can say no to more greens?)
And you pretty much have the essentials. You could also add beets or avocado, sometimes walnuts, although that’s less common in a French salad.
Now you just need to soft-boil some eggs. Place them in boiling water for four minutes.
And you prepare the dressing. Take a heaping tablespoon of dijon mustard.
Then add a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar.
And 4 tablespoons of olive oil.
A dash of white pepper.
You don’t need any salt because the mustard and bacon are already salty.
But when you add your soft-boiled egg, I would sprinkle some salt on that, because … yum.
Top your meal off with a ¼ of a baguette and a plain yoghurt and you’ll think you’re in France.
And now for some gratuitous shots of the kids for the benefit of their grandparents. The rest of you can get started on your salads.
(I know, I know. I’m really bossy today. Feel perfectly free to ignore me).
And the only reason Petit Prince is actually still, and non-blurry, and looking at the camera is because he paused long enough to scratch his leg. We must take advantage of every opportunity afforded us.
We’re heading to Le Pays Basque to the very city where a forest fire is currently raging. The resort assured me that they’re fine and it’s safe to come. There’s also a heat wave going on this week.
Hopefully we won’t all get burned to a crisp like a lardon.
- frizzy salad
- cherry tomatoes
- diced gruyère
- 2 sliced, boiled potatoes
- chopped green beans
- 2 soft-boiled eggs
- Dressing: 1T dijon mustard
- 1T balsamic vinegar
- 4T olive oil
- dash of white pepper
- Wash the salad.
- Cook the green beans and potatoes, and slice them.
- Wash and cut the cherry tomatoes in half.
- Dice the cheese.
- Arrange the ingredients on 2 plates.
- Boil the eggs for 4 minutes. Shell them and put one on each plate.
- Prepare the dressing, mixing all the ingredients together.
- Pour the dressing over the salad and serve while still warm.