A green salad is the corner stone of every meal in France – It can be the first course, or a side dish with the main course for lunch, or your main dish with cheese or a hardboiled egg for dinner.
One important aspect and characteristic of the French green salad is the vinaigrette or “sauce moutarde”. It must be very mustardy. This was, and is still like this in my family in Burgundy. A strong mustard, the Dijon mustard… is the star!
As a French expatriate, there are some food products that I can’t live without… and mustard is number one in my list. I can eat American mustard with hot dogs or with my burger but not in a salad dressing. Dijon mustard was the one in France, Dijon mustard is still the one in Canada.
And let you go, be a real French! Don’t be afraid to make things “au pif’ or “by the nose”. We do this all the time when it comes to salad dressing.
Good quality mustard, shallot and/or garlic, a mild but flavourful wine vinegar and a good vegetable oil. This is the perfect combination!
No red wine balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil with Dijon mustard… There would be too much competition between so many good and tasty ingredients. You really want to taste and enjoy the flavor of the mustard.
Don’t get me wrong! I love red wine balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil with salad or other vegetables but without mustard.
As a food artisan start-up, the beer jelly is my leading product. A breakthrough for me! it pairs so marvellously with cheeses (like pecorino cheese with peppercorns) and it is easy to use when you are cooking … a teaspoon here or there.
Imperial IPA beer jelly (because of the hops flavor) works perfectly in a salad dressing and complements very well the taste of the green leaves. It is a must to try! A simple dish like a green salad can be so tasty… a symphony of flavours. You won’t look behind you after.
If you are not living in Toronto (e-commerce for Canada available soon on my company website), you can find a similar product in USA. If not, I suggest you replace the beer jelly with apple cider jelly or apple jelly. Try to find one that is not too sweet, and in this case use apple cider vinegar.
I think it is time to cook, this is my recipe:
French Imperial IPA beer jelly vinaigrette
A few simple ingredients that can come together so well, when done right. A symphony of flavors!
Makes about 60 ml (1/4 cup), enough for one large green salad
A pinch (1/8 teaspoon) sea salt
1 tablespoon white balsamic wine vinegar
1/2 small shallot, peeled and minced (about 1 tablespoon) (facultative)
A generous teaspoon Dijon originale mustard like Maille
A generous teaspoon old style mustard like Maille
1 teaspoon of Imperial IPA beer jelly (or apple cider jelly or apple jelly)
3 to 4 tablespoons (45 ml to 60 ml) vegetable oil like sunflower
Fresh ground pepper
Fresh herbs, if desired
In a large bowl, mix together the salt, vinegar, and shallot. Let stand for about ten minutes.
Shallot is the chic cousin of onion. When marinated in vinegar, it gets soften and adds an attention-grabbing flavor to the dressing because of its slight bite. A must, you need to try!
Mix in the two mustards, beer jelly (or apple cider jelly), then add 3 tablespoons (45 ml) of vegetable oil and freshly ground peppercorns. Stir well, then taste. If too sharp, add the additional vegetable oil and more salt, if necessary.
You can add fresh herbs, but it’s better to chop and mix them just before serving so they retain their flavor.
You can keep this salad dressing for about eight hours at room temperature. If you want to make it farther in advance, as I suggest previously, add the shallots and the fresh herbs closer to serving so they don’t loose their fragrance.
French green salad with pickled black cherry, pecorino cheese and Imperial IPA beer jelly vinaigrette
4 servings Preparation 15 minutes
1 Head red leaf lettuce (leaves torn) or a large bag of mixed baby green leaves
50 grams (1/4 cup) of pickled black cherry, pitted and sliced
100 grams (3 ounces) pecorino cheese with peppercorns, shaved or cut in small cubs
You can also use a local cheese like pepper potts cheese. This cheese is rubbed in freshly cracked pepper and aged for 18 months. it is a pasteurized sheep’s milk cheese made in Sudbury, Ontario. A traditional Tuscan-style pecorino recipe!
Salad dressing (recipe above)
Salt and peppercorn
In the large bowl that contains the French Imperial IPA beer vinaigrette, add the lettuce (or mixed green leaves), pickled cherries and half of pecorino and toss to coat. Top with rest of pecorino.
Add fresh ground peppercorns and salt if necessary.