Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Salade de chèvre au miel (Salad with goat's cheese and honey)
A few weeks ago on one of the first sunny days here in Paris, a good friend and colleague convinced me that we should go out and have lunch on a "terrace". You need to understand that once the first rays of sunshine hit the Parisians all flock to the nearest terrace to soak in the rays with a rosé or other beverage.
As any self respecting person living in France we knew that we needed to leave early to get that much coveted spot. We were fortunate we were able to get two seats on the terrace at a somewhat 'trendy' restaurant. Luckily for us this is also a stone's throw away from our office so the gods were smiling on us this day. Its trendy because of its location, in part a stone's throw away from the famous avenue Montaigne (designers row) and right next door to the Europe 1 (radio station) studios, so from time to time its quiet common to see some famous faces.
The salad special of the day was chèvre au miel - translated it was a green salad with vinaigrette, chèvre , thin slices of smoked duck, potato and sun dried tomatoes with the crowing touch being a liquid honey drizzled over the chèvre and smoked duck.
I have to admit I'm not a fan of ordering salads in restaurants as I'm most often disappointed. Why ? My hubby makes a great green salad with his own vinaigrette. Nothing fancy but its always very tasty and the advantage of being at home is that we know our ingredients. Too often in restaurants the salad is just put together with what's available and as a result the taste is often not present. However this day, I said why not ! and I was very pleasantly surprised. In fact so pleasantly surprised that I decided to recreate it at home that weekend.
In my version there are two modifications, our vendor at the market was out of smoked duck as so was the supermarket so I substituted dried ham from Bayonne (Pays Basque country), the original recipe had steamed potatoes, I thought that the potatoes were not necessarily needed and as such left it out - no one was wiser.
The great thing about salads is that you are free to choose your quantities in function to your likes, I've tried to list the measurements but bear in mind that these are approximative.
Salade a de Chèvre au Miel ( Salade with goat cheese and honey)
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For two servings -
1 small head of Romaine lettuce cleaned
1 medium goat's cheese - I used a Chabichou a a traditional soft, unpasteurized, natural-rind cheese with a firm and creamy texture. Its traditionally aged for 10 to 20 days. However you can use whatever medium goat's cheese that you can find
3-4 tablespoon of liquid honey - I used the Acacia variety as this is most common and the taste is quiet neutral
Approx 15 slices smoked duck - I used the French equivalent to Prosciutto - Jambon de Bayonne and used 3 slices per person
100grams or 3ozs of Sun dried tomatoes
Vinaigrette - I could give you the hubby's recipe, but then I would have to destroy you, soooo use a vinaigrette that's not too heavy on the mustard and you'll be fine.
-No hard and fast rules here, the main and essential part is that you completely dry the salad, if the leaves are wet the leaves will wilt and the dressing will not stick. We like to mix in the dressing first and make sure the salad is well tossed before adding the rest of ingredients.
-Once you have assembled the salad, with a spoon drizzle the honey over the cheese first and then over the smoked duck or prosciutto