The Easiest Salad in the World


It may sound strange to say that while I’m testing recipes for my cookbook, I don’t always think about dinner, but that’s exactly how it goes. So I told X that I needed him to pitch in, and he has.

One night he made grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner, which he does quite well – he uses either a Comté or a very sharp cheddar, heaps it up on Poilane bread, and makes sure each side is evenly browned and crispy. His other specialty is this salad, which is really, really delicious.

I know. I can’t believe I’m saying this, either.

He made this for me the first time years ago, when we were still dating (and he was no doubt trying to impress me), and we were on vacation in Biarritz. It was summertime, and we’d spend days lounging in the sun, doing the crossword puzzles together in French, or going for a hike in the Pyrenees nearby. At night, we’d  usually either walk to our favorite tapas bar, Bar Jean, or we’d stay in and cook.

One night, he told me to stay out of the kitchen, because he was making dinner. Well, I love it when anyone cooks for me, so I just stayed right where I’d been most of the day, on my lounge chair right there on the patio, overlooking the waves crashing onto the oversize rocks.

I think he even made a vinaigrette. In any case, it was fresh and light, and the best part about this salad, X says, is that you can put whatever you want in the bowl. Undressed and well-covered, it’ll keep for another day, which is great in the summertime, when the last thing you want to do at the end of the day is think about dinner.

So the other week, the day after grilled cheese sandwich night, he made his salad for me again.  I was so happy that he did.

X’s Salade

This is a list of what he put in the salad (above), but these ingredients may vary, according to whim and what’s available at the stinky Franprix, which is where X likes to do his grocery shopping.

1 carton of white mushrooms, quartered

1 can of hearts of palm, sliced

2 endives, sliced

2 chicken breasts, which he cut in small pieces and sautéed in butter (he’s French, remember)

2 or 3 thick slices of good ham, cut into bite-size pieces

2 hard-boiled eggs

1 cucumber, sliced

1 baby Romaine, leaves gently torn

X usually puts cherry tomatoes in this, too, but he told me that he forgot. Chunks or crumbles of cheese of any sort would also be nice. Shrimp. Or just go veg.

For a vinaigrette, you may want to make my E-Z Dijon vinaigrette, which you can find here.

I hope it’s salad night again soon (hint, hint).