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This Weekend Herb Blogging is back home where it all started: with Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen.
It's salad season, finally! We don't eat salads all winter, but, come the spring….
I don't buy lettuce. We eat seasonally and if it's not in season we don't (or at least rarely) eat it. I'd like to say there is some mystical, esoteric, important reason for the way we eat, but it's more simple than that. I think food in season tastes better. I think food grown locally, organically by small farmers, or by me in my potager is healthier. And I like the idea of pigging out on salads for 3 months followed by tomatoes, followed by peppers, followed by squashes…..
I may not buy lettuce but I do plant a lot of it. I put my first lettuce 'sets' in about 3 weeks ago and they're ready to become salads. Seeds of 4 or 5 different varieties will go in the ground next week and will be ready when this first batch is done. We will eat salads as a main course 2 or 3 times a week, and as a side course most other nights until sometime in July when the last of it bolts.
I make them with grilled chicken or sausages or beef, and with potatoes, onions and shallots. I use tinned tuna, pimiento from jars, anchovies, olives and eggs. I bring in big baskets of herbs and maybe a flower or two. If it's edible, chances are it will find its way into one of my salads.
I make my own dressing: creamy with yogurt; lemon; Balsamic, both white and red; some chock full of herbs, some simple. That started out of necessity – when we first moved here I couldn't buy bottled salad dressing. I still have a very small choice – and none of it as good as my own. Besides, it only takes a minute.
Here, the first of what will likely be many, is one of my favorite salads. It's based on a recipe I found in a Williams-Sonoma cookbook a few eons ago.
Oh yes – summer cooking is all done on the barbecue grill….by mon mari. The potatoes are in our 'for grill use only' pan.
4 sausages, any flavor, 10 oz (350 gr)
1 carton chevre (Chavrie in the U.S., Chavraux in Europe) 5 oz (150gr)
2 medium potatoes
1 tbs olive oil
large handful of fresh basil leaves
2 tbs fresh, snipped chives
Cut potatoes into bite size pieces and coat with the olive oil. Either cook in a pan on the barbecue if you are using one or put on a baking sheet in a 400F oven for 25 minutes. Cook sausages – either on the barbecue grill or in a frying pan on the cook top. Tear lettuce and put in a large bowl. Snip chives. Tear large basil leaves, leave small ones whole. Add herbs to salad. Add 1/4 of the vinaigrette and toss to combine using tongs (or salad utensils). When sausages are done cut into bite size pieces and add to lettuce – they will be warm. When potatoes are done add to salad – again, warm is okay – not necessary, but okay. Add the chevre to the salad with a spoon – just in small chunks. Add about 1/3rd more of the dressing and toss well. As you toss the salad you will see the residual warmth from the sausage and potatoes combined with the dressing is causing the chevre to coat the lettuce leaves making a very creamy salad. Add more dressing as you like, using all of it or reserving some to be added at table. Fresh pepper is nice ….. serve.
1 clove garlic
1 tbs Dijon mustard
1 tbs lemon juice
3 tbs wine vinegar – white tarragon is nice, as is white balsamic
1/2 cup olive oil – the good stuff for salads, rather than the every day cooking variety
Mince garlic. Combine garlic, lemon juice, mustard and vinegar in bowl and whisk well. Slowly drizzle in olive oil whisking constantly so that the dressing emulsifies (gets thick).
Remember to check out Kalyn's Kitchen on Monday to see the complete round-up of what's cooking around the world in the world of herbs…. and plants