Tag Archives: french food

Salad composed according to Alexandre Dumas

alexander dumas salad

Salad composed according to Alexandre Dumas

Better known for his novels, The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers, Alexandre Dumas was also a gourmand and wrote Le Grande Dictionnaire de Cuisine, an encyclopedia of culinary terms, recipes and anecdotes that begins with absinth and ending with zest. The 1152 page book was completed just before his death and published posthumously.

A variation of this salad appears in Salvador Dali’s cookbook of 1973, Les Diners de Gala.

For the vegetables:
1 medium celery root
1 apple
4 celery stalks
3 beets
1 head radicchio, chopped
3 endives, chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice

For the vinaigrette:
½ cup olive oil
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
salt and pepper
1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 shallot, finely chopped

Whisk together all of the ingredients for the vinaigrette. Taste, adjust seasoning and set aside.

Peel and quarter the celery root and cut into thin matchsticks (julienne) with a sharp knife. Place in a bowl and toss with enough vinaigrette to coat. Set aside.

Peel the beets and julienne, place in a separate bowl and toss with enough vinaigrette to coat. Set aside.

Core the apples and cut into quarters, then julienne. Place in a separate bowl and toss with lemon juice. Set aside.

Thinly slice the celery into half moons and place in a separate bowl and toss with enough vinaigrette to coat.

Chop the radicchio and endive. Mix together, wash, dry, and set aside.

When ready to serve, separately dress the apples, radicchio and endive. Artistically arrange on a platter and serve.

Serves 8

Winter Cabbage Salad

winter cabbage salad

Winter Cabbage Salad

In ancient Greece, cabbage was cooked with coriander and rue then sprinkled with honeyed vinegar. Romans believed eating cabbage could cure a hangover, and also used it as a laxative. This is a classic winter Greek salad, known as Lahano Salata.

1 head of cabbage
1 fennel bulb
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
¼ cup fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons mustard powder
2 teaspoons fennel seed
2 teaspoons coriander seeds

Slice the cabbage and fennel into thin strips. Place in large bowl.

Grind spices together to combine well in mortar and pestle. In a small bowl, add spices to vinegar and stir to combine. Add oil and whisk together completely with a fork.

Pour dressing over cabbage and fennel, add fresh thyme leaves and toss well to coat evenly. Serve immediately or refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve.

Serves 6

Grapefruit and Avocado Salad

citrus and avocado salad

Grapefruit and Avocado Salad

Native to Mexico, avocados were first grown in Santa Barbara, CA in 1871 but were not generally known until many years later. Henry E. Huntington was one of the most famous Californians who gave the avocado a boost on its road to fame. He was served one at Los Angeles’s Jonathan Club and was so intrigued by it that he took the seed home and planted it in his San Marino gardens, marking the beginning of the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Garden’s grand avocado grove.

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
¼ cup lemon juice
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
½ cup olive oil
3 endives, chopped
3 ripe avocados
3 large grapefruits
seeds of one pomegranate

Place the mustard, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until the vinaigrette is emulsified.

Before serving, cut the avocados in half, remove the seeds, and carefully peel off the skin. Cut each half into 4 thick slices. Toss the avocado slices in the vinaigrette to prevent them from turning brown.

Use a large, sharp knife to slice the peel off the grapefruits (be sure to remove all the white pith), then cut between the membranes to release the grapefruit segments.

Arrange the endive slices on the bottom of the platter. Place the grapefruit segments over the endive followed by the avocado slices. Spoon the vinaigrette on top, sprinkle with pomegranate seeds, salt and pepper, and serve.

Serves 6

Stuffed Tomatoes with Gruyere and Fresh Herbs

stuffed tomatoes

Stuffed Tomatoes with Gruyere and Fresh Herbs

“One of the most savory ways of serving tomatoe is à la provençale. These tomatoes go well with many things – steaks, chops, roast beef, lamb, roast or broiled chicken, broiled mackerel, tuna, sardines, herring, or swordfish. They may also be a hot hors d’oeuvres, or accompany egg dishes.” – Julia Child

6 firm, ripe, red tomatoes about 3 inches in diameter
1 ½ cups soft breadcrumbs (about 5 slices of bread, pulsed through a food processor – do not use dry breadcrumbs!)
¾ cup grated Gruyere cheese
2 scallions, minced
¼ cup basil, minced
3 tablespoons parsley, minced
1 teaspoon thyme
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper
olive oil

Preheat the oven to 425º F.

Slice off the top of the tomatoes and hollow out the insides. Grease a baking dish with olive oil and place the tomatoes side by side, open side up. Sprinkle the insides with salt and pepper.

In a bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, grated cheese, scallions, basil, parsley, garlic, thyme, and a little more salt and pepper to taste.

Fill the tomatoes with the breadcrumb mixture. Drizzle with olive oil and bake for 15 minutes, or until the tomatoes are tender. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Serves 6