Friday, 8 January 2010

A salad fit for a meal

So, I thought I would share with you one of my favourite meals right now (tweaked to my tastes, of course!) - a Salade Composé à la Kangaroo.
This salad has become one of my favourite meals. I ate my first one in a small restaurant in the Opéra area and instead of going back and paying 11€ each time, I thought it would be easy enough to make my own. Now it's become at least a bi-weekly meal in our house.

Ingredients: serves two as a main course

-- Two large handfuls of fresh, well washed lettuce leaves (I usually wash my lettuce three times - you'd be suprised how much grit will come out of it)
-- Small can of corn kernels
-- Canned green beans (or fresh blanched beans if you have the botheredness or time)
-- Beetroot, slices into chunks (fresh or canned)
-- Ripe tomatoes (I use Coeur de Boeuf or Beef heart tomatoes, but any ripe tomato will do)
-- Good quality sliced ham or chicken (or Turkey for that matter), sliced into strips
-- Bacon lardons, fried until crisp in a small amount of olive oil

-- Good olive oil (don't go using just any old oil - it must be good quality!)
-- White or balsamic vinegar (I use a white vinegar called 'Vinaigre de Xérès d'Andalouise' from Maille)
-- A nice spoonful of good Dijon mustard, to taste
-- Salt and pepper, to taste

To compose the salad:

In a large deep bowl or plate, layer the salad leaves, tomato slices, spoonfuls of corn, beans, and sliced beetroot chunks (try to be artistic about it, you eat with your eyes, after all!) On top of it all, place a small pile of the sliced ham and sprinkle the crispy lardons over the top.

Try not to serve this straight out of the fridge - there's nothing worse than a forkful of ice-cold salad - it should be room temperature. And besides, chilled stuff tastes blander than if served at room temperature - so there! ; )

For the dressing:
Generally speaking, vinaigrettes should be 1 part acid (vinegars or lemon juice) to 3 parts oil. This one is no different...

In a small bowl, whisk a spoonful of mustard and about a tablespoon full of the vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. While whisking, drizzle in your olive oil (approximately 3 tablespoons) until the dressing is thick and creamy.

Now is the time to taste and adjust - more mustard? more vinegar? Too sour? (add more olive oil to counter the acidity). Once you are happy with the taste, drizzle this over the finished salad just before serving. Any left over dressing can be kept refrigerated in an airtight container up to 1-2 days.

This salad is great as a meal in itself. It certainly is filling enough, especially when served with small toasts topped with grilled goats cheese (not shown in the photos). Here in Paris, I use Pain de Mie (a slightly sweetened white bread) cut into diagonals and topped with a disk of chèvre (goats cheese).

Happy salad-ing!

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