When the weather is warm (a rare but happy occasion in Scotland) it’s hard to think of soup…a statement that rarely comes out of my mouth. I would guess that the lettuce in our garden vying for my attention each day has turned my thoughts to salads. But in all likelihood, it’s probably the lingering memory of the poolside lunch Florence de Dampierre hosted earlier this summer and her fresh, wonderful salads.
I was thrilled when I received an email on Friday that included a few recipes from Florence’s lunch – all of the herbs and lettuce used were from her delightful kitchen garden. Florence’s book French Chic: The Art of Decorating Houses (Rizzoli) features several more recipes, including Zucchini Tian and Clafoutis with Black Cherries. Enjoy!
Arugula Salad with Sliced Mango and Avocado
4 to 6 cups (or 1 pack) arugula
1 ripe and firm avocado
1 ripe and firm mango
About 2 tablespoons of Vinaigrette classique
1 dozen fresh opal basil leaves, torn
Discard the stems from the arugula and tear any large leaves. Wash and dry it thoroughly on a cloth towel or in a salad spinner. You do not want a wet salad. Transfer to a serving bowl. Peel and halve the avocado, and discard the pit. Cut each half lengthwise into thin slices. Peel the mango using a vegetable peeler. Cut the mango in half around the pit. Discard the pit. Cut each half lengthwise into thin slices. Add the avocado and mango slices to the bowl. Right before serving, pour the vinaigrette over the arugula, and toss to coat the leaves thoroughly. Make sure not to drown the arugula with too much vinaigrette. Garnish with basil.
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse sea salt, a pinch
Freshly ground black pepper, a pinch
Fresh thyme, a pinch
1 large garlic clove, peeled
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Put mustard in a small bowl. Add vinegar and oil and mix well. Add salt, pepper, and thyme. Transfer to an empty jam jar. Cover and shake well. For extra flavor, you can add a garlic clove or lemon juice.
A Tip from Florence: It is always good to make the vinaigrette in advance. Keep it stored in a jam jar in the pantry for a couple of months. You can also place a sprig of rosemary in the vinaigrette jar to infuse it with extra flavor. Never put the vinaigrette jar in the refrigerator.
1/4 teaspoon unsalted butter
One 9-inch store-bought pie crut
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 pound Swiss cheese, grated
3 large tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1/3 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, coarsely chopped
Coarse sea salt, a pinch
1 dozen fresh opal basil leaves, left whole
Butter a 9-inch ceramic pie dish. Place the pie crust inside the dish. Spread mustard thinly on crust. Place cheese evenly over the mustard. Cover with tomato slices in a tightly packed single layer. Then sprinkle with thyme and salt.
Bake in a preheated 350˚F. oven until crust is brown, about 45 minutes. Remove dish from oven. Set aside for 15 minutes. Sprinkle basil on top.
Photos: Lelia Cerqueira