Since re-reading “A Year in Provence” by Peter Mayle, I am still happily researching food from the South of France. Having visited France twice already, I have firsthand experience of the many culinary delights that are intrinsic to French cuisine. (I do however need a lot more empirical study, so I think another visit in the near future is absolutely necessary!)
This recipe for a simple vegetable salad is just beyond belief delicious. The anchoïade dressing is so full of flavor, yet it doesn’t overpower the veggies. (And yes I know, it takes a lot to overpower radishes, fennel, red onion, and radicchio. But none the less, these veggies together with the dressing make for just a wonderful mouth experience.)
And don’t worry about the number of anchovies used in the dressing. Unless you truly have an aversion to the hairy little beasties, you are not going to find the flavor too intense. (And no, anchovies are not really hairy. They’re really more fuzzy than hairy!)
So do yourself a favor and make this salad next time you want to brighten up your dinner menu. The flavors are just exotic enough to be special, while at the same time, the ingredients are readily available at most grocery stores. And while you are eating this salad, imagine yourself in the South of France, dining al fresco under a late afternoon summer sun. And served along with the salad – local cheeses and sausages, a soft and creamy pâté, fresh baked bread, a variety of olives, young red wine, fresh fruit, and a pear tart for dessert. Now if that doesn’t sound like heaven, I don’t know what does!
- 1 small tin or jar anchovies in olive oil or 8-10 anchovies, if you buy your anchovies in bulk
- ¼ c. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 small cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 T. red wine vinegar
- 1 T. finely chopped walnuts
- 3 T. walnut oil
- 1 T. capers washed of brine
- freshly ground black pepper – just a grind
- pinch of kosher salt, if needed
In a small pan over low heat, melt the anchovies gently in the olive oil. Add the garlic and sauté for about a minute. Allow to cool. Transfer into the bowl of small food processor and add the vinegar, walnuts, walnut oil, capers, and black pepper. Whirl until smooth and emulsified. Add salt if needed.
Thank you Celia Harvey from Cuisine magazine for the bones of this wonderful dressing recipe.
- 4 stalks celery with leaves (tender pale stalks only), very thinly sliced
- 4 radishes, very thinly sliced
- 1 small fennel bulb, peeled of tough outer layers, very thinly sliced
- ¼ small red onion, very thinly sliced
- 2 hearts of romaine, cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 small radicchio, thinly sliced, opt.
- 1 T. coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Combine all the fresh veggies and toss with a goodly amount of the dressing. Serve immediately.