Chicory Salad with Roquefort (Salade Aux Endives et au Roquefort)
Composed salads make perfect starters. They are light and colourful and lend themselves to endless variation – and the components can often be prepared ahead for quick assembly. The French are masters of the composed salad. Any combination of ingredients can be used — let your imagination and your palate guide you. Arranged attractively on a plate or in a bowl, this type of salad offers contrasting flavours, textures and colours. Raw or cooked vegetables, fresh fruits, hard-boiled hen’s or quail’s eggs, smoked or cooked poultry, meat, fish or shellfish can all be used, but it is important that the dressing or other seasoning unite all the elements harmoniously. Unlike a tossed salad such as “Salade de Mesclun”, in which the leaves are tossed together with a simple vinaigrette, the components of a composed salad are kept more separate. The ingredients might be arranged in groups, sometimes on a base of lettuce or other leaves, or simply arranged in circles on the plate. Composed salads, like “Salade Niçoise” or any of the following salads, are often served as a first course or a light main course, especially in warm weather. A tossed green salad is frequently eaten after the main course and is generally thought to cleanse the palate for the cheese course or dessert.
- 30 ml/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 5 ml/1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 60 ml/2 fl oz/1/4 cup walnut oil
- 15—30 ml/1—2 tbsp sunflower oil
- 2 chicory heads, white or red
- 1 celery heart or 4 celery sticks, peeled and cut into julienne strips
- 85 g/3 oz/1 cup walnut halves, lightly toasted
- 30 ml/2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 125 g/4 oz Roquefort cheese, crumbled
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Fresh parsley sprigs, to garnish
- Whisk together the vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl.
- Slowly whisk in the walnut oil, then the sunflower oil. Arrange the chicory on individual plates.
- Scatter over the celery, walnut halves and parsley. Crumble equal amounts of Roquefort cheese over each plate and drizzle a little vinaigrette over each.