Monday, November 12, 2007

Sample recipe from Salads: French farmer’s salad

This is a light salad that might make a nice light meal or an entrée to a bigger meal.

1-2 servings:

1-2 eggs
1/4 head of iceberg lettuce
1/4 head of lettuce (the photo shows some kind of curly lettuce that looks like the decorative kind I sometimes grow on my balcony. I don't think the type is really that important)
75 g salted bacon
1 slice white (French) bread

Salt and pepper
1/2 clove garlic, pressed
2 tsp vinegar
1 tbs oil (I would use olive oil)

Mix all dressing ingredients together and refrigerate for a while.

Cook the eggs (in the accompanying photo they are medium well done, i.e. the white is cooked, but the yolk is soft). Trim and wash the lettuce and tear into pieces. Cut the bacon into cubes and fry until almost crisp, then cut the bread into cubes and brown in the bacon fat.

Pour a little of the sauce onto each plate. Put the lettuce on top, then the bacon, then the eggs (cut in half, according to the photo), and top with bread cubes.

The recipe suggests adding ham to the salad to make it more hearty.

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I made this salad for dinner. For the second lettuce I used a type called “Lambhagasalat” after the place where it’s grown, and the vinegar was white wine vinegar, as I thought regular white vinegar would be too sharp for the vinaigrette.

Following the instructions and the photograph in the book, I tore the salad up coarsely, but it really should be torn into small pieces, as cramming large pieces into your mouth will leave your lips and cheeks smeared with vinaigrette. I fried fatty bacon to get plenty of fat to fry the bread cubes in.

The salad was an interesting collection of flavours and textures: the bland smoothness of the egg, the oily crunchiness of croutons, the salty, chewy bacon, then the fresh, crisp lettuce and the tart, pungent flavour of the vinaigrette.

These flavours do not blend well enough when the salad is made according to instructions. Another time I would tear the lettuce leaves up into small pieces and toss with the vinaigrette, then toss the bread and bacon, add to the salad and top with the egg. And I would serve beer with it.

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