Salade Verte

Photo: The Stranger 2008

This version of the classic Salade Verte has been on the menu at Le Pichet and Cafe Presse every day that we have been open.

The salade verte is the ultimate expression of simple food, simply prepared.  Because there are no tricks or gimmicks to hid mistakes, the quality of every ingredient is paramount.  We use organic Hazelnuts from Holmquist Hazelnuts, who are located near Blaine Washington.  They grow the Duchilly hazelnut, a skinless variety with great flavor and texture.  For Bibb lettuce, our produce supplier, Frank’s Quality Produce, uses various organic growers to maintain a year round supply.

The other important element is making sure that the lettuce is absolutely fresh, cold and crispy.  We tear our lettuce to order to avoid wilting or browning.  And this salad should be served as soon as it is dressed.

Thanks to JP for requesting this recipe.

About 4 servings

Ingredients

1 cup orange juice
1 small shallot
1/2 cup sherry vinegar
1/3 cup organic Duchilly hazelnuts (for the viniagrette)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Approx. 1 cup soy oil
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 head organic Bibb lettuce
1/2 cup organic Duchilly hazelnuts (for garnishing the salad)

Preparation

  1. For the Vinaigrette: Heat the orange juice to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce to 1/2 cup. Cool. Toast the hazelnuts and cool. Peel and roughly chop the shallot.
  2. Put the reduced orange juice, shallot, sherry vinegar, hazelnuts, and Dijon mustard in the blender. Season with salt and pepper. Blend at high speed until homogenous.
  3. With the blender running, add the oil slowly until vinaigrette is the consistency of heavy cream. The actual amount of oil required may be slightly more or less. Do not let the blender run too long, as the vinaigrette will break if it gets too warm.
  4. Taste the vinaigrette to adjust the seasoning. Add more salt or pepper if needed. If the vinaigrette is too acidic, add more oil with the blender running. If the vinaigrette gets to thick, thin with a bit of water. Note that this recipe makes about 2 cups vinaigrette, which would be enough for quite a few salads.
  5. For the Salad: Remove any dead or damaged leaves from the lettuce. Wash the lettuce carefully, making sure to check the interior leaves near the base for dirt. Let drain in the refrigerator for about an hour. Toast the hazelnuts, cool and chop roughly.
  6. When ready to serve, remove the core from the lettuce. Separate the leaves and tear them if they are too large. Make sure that there is no water on the leaves (spin in a salad spinner if necessary to remove any water).
  7. Toss the lettuce with salt, ground fresh pepper and a little vinaigrette. DO NOT OVERDRESS. Taste a bit to check seasoning and amount of vinaigrette. Correct as necessary. Arrange the lettuce on individual salad plates or one salad dish. Sprinkle the chopped hazelnuts over the top. Serve immediately.
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7 Responses to Salade Verte

  1. Jp says:

    Thanks Jim!

  2. Marilyn says:

    Great salad..excited to make it.

  3. Shannon says:

    Thanks so much for your generosity! I’m from Seattle but live in France and I’d love to try this lovely recipe. It’s a nightmare for me trying to read French recipes! :) I’ll swing by next time I’m home.

  4. Annie says:

    Thank you so very much for posting this recipe of my favorite green salad in the world, at my favorite restaurant in the world. There are fancier salads and fancier restaurants, but none that I desire so consistently. Now that I have moved away from Seattle I miss them both terribly.
    I googled “presse salade verte” but with very faint hope of finding anything, so this is amazing! Can’t wait to make it tomorrow for friends, with a lentil soup w carrots celery and fennel seeds, and a crusty baguette, naturellement!

  5. Jim Walker says:

    I love this salade but can’t find Soy Oil in Seattle.
    Where oh where do I get it?

    • Jim says:

      We use soy oil because its neutral flavor allows the flavor of the hazelnuts to shine. Therefore, any neutrally flavored vegetable oil (canola, safflower) may replace the soy oil in this recipe. I prefer organic, cold pressed oils when possible.

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