This is a typical French summer salad and one that’s been on my list to make, and it’s so simple and quick, I don’t know what took me so long to get around to it.
The timing seemed right when my friend Catherine from Paris came to town for a much too short visit (how can we possibly catch up in only one week?!). We made the salad together — she’s made it tons of times–and it was better even than I’d imagined.
So was our visit. We walked our dogs together every morning at Parc St. Cloud for nearly five years, and as we tromped through the drizzle/pouring rain/snow — the city’s nasty weather never stopped us from getting out–our friendship grew beyond our quotidien promenades. She took me to the Louvre one afternoon and we decided to start in the oldest part of the museum, where the earliest French paintings are kept. Catherine’s degree is in art history and she’s a painter. One by one, she told me the history and significance of each one. Then we went to Angelina and had gi-normous chocolat chauds and talked about much less impressive things. We have shopped together, had champagne in the park after walking the dogs together, gone through breakups and cancer together, and through it all, we have laughed.
We celebrated every night in Santa Fe with a very Provencal-style apero in my garden–complete with fresh herbs growing in large pots all around us, tiny lights strung in the air, and French wines, bien sûr–and for just a few days, it was like I never left. We even walked Rose on the mountain trails in the mornings, just like we’ve done for years.
Now it’s my turn to get back to Paris. I can’t wait. I say bring on the gray and the rainy. I’ve got the boots for it.
Makes 4 servings
This is one of those recipes that’s all about your own taste — how much lemon, oil, spices– depends on you. Catherine and I made this together and she’d say, “More lemon?” and I’d add some. Or “More salt?” Etc. So start with these guidelines, and make this salad your own.
- 16 ounces of crimini mushrooms and/or champignons de Paris (white mushrooms)
- a handful of fresh Parmesan curls
- a big squeeze of fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 teaspoon of baies roses/pink peppercorns
- fleur de sel
- fresh pepper
Ten minutes before you want to serve this — not more, because the mushrooms will get soggy– put the mushrooms in a bowl along with the rest of the ingredients, toss and taste. Right before serving, taste again and adjust the seasonings if necessary.