|How about a pasta salad with vegetables and salmon?|
Salades Composées, are the French versions of either an entrée or a meal.
The name, at least to me, implies a salad requiring great thought, preparation and precision. After all it’s “composed” which makes me think creativity and effort are involved. I suppose the best way to address my assumption is to say, “maybe, maybe not.”
A salade composée could be an extravagant affair featuring lobster, artichoke hearts, exotic mixed greens, exquisite heirloom tomatoes (peeled of course), a sprinkle of caviar. . . or it could be just about anything thrown in a bowl that cohabits with some semblance of tasteful logic.
In other words, a composed salad might be just the answer to what’s for lunch, dinner or an appetizer when you have no idea what to make. This type of salad requires is a quick scan of what’s in the refrigerator, the pantry and maybe even the freezer. Don’t forget a hard boiled egg or two.
As far as I know, in France, salad bars have not seen the popularity they have in the States — I don’t know about other countries, you’ll have to tell me. However, there is a brilliant chain of restaurants in Paris that has a salad bar vibe, without letting the customers get involved in the self-service messes that turn so many of us off the experience. In these restaurants, all the many, many, many ingredients are safely behind a glass partition. The servers, and there are many, on the other side of the barrier ask if one would like a large or small salad. He or she then selects the proper sized bowl and the fun begins.
There are at least 10 or 15 different types of greens plus all of the salad accoutrements one would expect including different types of cheese, mushrooms, edamame, sprouts, shrimp, crab, confit de canard and on and on. Each ingredient has a price and at the end of the composition, you select your dressing from about 10 choices. It’s a divine experience and I haven’t mentioned half of the offerings.
|Talk about simple.|
|A Greek salad is basically a salade composée. . .|
|. . . as is the undefinable “chef salad” — in other words, whatever the chef has on hand.|
Back to rehab. I have had several salades composées among my entrées. They have all been simple and good. One was mache, corn, bean sprouts, a few diced tomatoes and probably the equivalent of a tablespoon of tuna. Another day the kitchen concocted a celery root, beet and mache salad with feta.
Yet another thing I love about living in France is by merely giving a lowly salad an appealing name, they promise a delicious surprise. A composed salad: It almost makes one feel calm thinking about the no pressure assemblage.