Thursday, July 26, 2007

A Southwestern Salad

The Salade Landaise at Le Bistrot de Saint Paul

For today’s lunch salad, I chose a neighborhood place, the Bistrot de Saint Paul, thinking I’d take a Salade Landaise. It’s one of the few Southwestern restaurants in Lyon, a place that you can get to from the Presqu’Ile by crossing the foot bridge near the famous Fresque de Lyon. One of the reasons I chose to go there for lunch today is that it is infernally hot today. Their little dining room is quietly and efficiently cooled by air conditioning, a rarity in this town.

The Landes is a region in Gascony, located in the Southwest of France. When you see an item on the menu described as à la Landaise, although of course everyone can do things differently, you can generally expect to see certain elements of duck, like redered fat used in cooking, duck breast or foie gras, garlic, pine nuts, etc. If it's a bird you've ordered, sometimes you can expect it wrapped in grape leaves, if it's a dessert, you might expect Armagnac to work its way in somehow.

My salade Landaise at the Bistrot de Saint Paul was made up of mixed greens, diced tomatoes, chives, sliced smoked duck breast, green beans, little radish sprouts, pine nuts, walnuts, and slices of their house foie gras confit topped with freshly ground mixed peppercorns and sea salt, served with brioche toast. The salad was heavily dressed with garlicky house vinaigrette that featured a hint of walnut oil. In all, it was a pretty good salad with a nice balance of flavors. Especially counting the foie gras that tasted divine with the brioche. It was cheap too.

I ordered a la carte and paid 10.50 Euros for my salad, although they offer more copious 3 course options in their daily menus for 19 and 29.50 Euros. Their menu items feature Landes cured ham, the classic scrambled eggs with truffles, their house prepared foie gras, fresh seasonal fish, duck confit with Southwest style potatoes, and a duck tartare.

The self-serve cheese, from the famous Lyonnaise cheese monger at Les Halles, La Mere Richard, is presented in a novel way, and they usually pay tribute to the three types, ewe, goat, and cow.

They have a house doggie, a pretty German Shepherd, who greets the patrons and lies down by the bar during the day.

Update: Since the previous owners of this restaurant retired and new owners took over, this salad has been discontinued as well as a complete overhaul of the menu. I crave this salad from time to time and now make it at home. The recipe:

Salade Landaise

Serves 4

1 small head of tender lettuce, leaves separated, washed and dried
12 dandelion leaves, washed and dried
1/3 cup pine nuts
12 thin slices of smoked magret de canard (duck breast)
8 walnuts
1/2 mild red bell pepper
12 chives
200 grams of steamed fresh green beans
8 generous slices of foie gras
fleur de sel
ground black pepper
4 slices of brioche, toasted

For the dressing

20 cl sunflower oil
5cl walnut oil
10 cl sherry vinegar
1 shallot
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt

- Make the dressing by blending all dressing ingredients in the blender.
- Crack the walnuts and roughly break the meats into pieces.
- Toast the pine nuts and walnuts in a dry pan over medium high heat until their fragrance begins to come out and they are lightly browned.
- Put the steamed green beans in a bowl with the minced red pepper, toasted nuts, chives, which you have clipped into 2 inch lengths, and add the dressing, toss.
- Compose the salad, starting with lettuce, place a bunch of seasoned beans on top, then arrange with slices of smoked duck breast and foie gras.
- dust with fleur de sel and ground black pepper, serve with brioche.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought yesterday's salad looked good but this one looks even better. The colours are beautiful and I hope the very pale pink wine tasted as perfect as it looks. Very civilised health food indeed.

I've never associated pine nuts with French dishes.....coming here is educational as well as beneficial for my mental health!

11:35 PM, July 27, 2007  
Blogger L Vanel said...

Thank you, Franchini!

5:09 PM, July 31, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lucy, do the French use sorrel very much? I keep writing about it because i love the way it melts into an omelet leaving that lemony tang, and a few leaves in soups are great. And it's impossible to get unless you grow it. I was inspired by your salads. You have so many more ingredients than we do in the states -- ALL the parts of the animal, and all the animals, too. We're wasteful and boring, having access only to muscle meats.

9:56 PM, July 31, 2007  
Blogger Slippery Rock said...

Lucy - Here on Circle Rd. we have an over-abundance of summer squash.
Can you give it a French twist?

Your blogs are amazing and I'm hoping that they inspire Clare to let her imagination go a wee bit wild in the kitchen.

I may try your peach custard idea up at the cottage this weekend.
nancy sullivan murray

6:50 PM, August 15, 2007  
Blogger L Vanel said...

Dear Nancy,

How nice of you to drop in! But of course there are many wonderful ways to prepare summer squash the French way. Let me think on it for a day or two and I will post a good recipe.


1:08 PM, August 16, 2007  
Blogger L Vanel said...

Note to the readers - the couple that ran this restaurant have retired - leaving it to a new owner, who has removed this particular salad from the menu. Tant pis!

1:48 PM, March 13, 2009  

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