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ALL-STAR HERB SALAD

Rather than making herbs part of a green salad, why not make these fresh, flavorful greens the salad. The idea comes from Paris chef Alain Passard who years ago served me an all-tarragon salad at his Left Bank restaurant, Arpege. When tarragon is fresh in the market or your garden overflows with this extraordinarily powerful herb, why not serve it with honor as a salad all on its own? Years later Passard expanded what I called "the tarragon tangle" to a full-scale mixed herb salad—just a few well dressed bites on a small salad plate—as an accompaniment. The idea really is to mix and match judiciously. Just don't use so many herbs that they lose their personality. Good combinations include parsley, mint, and tarragon. Or consider an all-mint salad to accompany grill lamb, an all-tarragon salad to accompany grilled chicken, a sage-heavy salad to accompany roast pork. Other herbs that can be added to the following salad mix include a very judicious addition of hyssop, coriander, sage, chervil, and marjoram. Just be sure to include leaves only—no cheating—leaving all stems behind!

1 teaspoon best-quality sherry wine vinegar
1 teaspoon best-quality red wine vinegar
Fine sea salt to taste
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 ounces (60 g) fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, carefully stemmed, rinsed and dried
2 ounces (60 g) fresh chives, rinsed, dried and minced
2 ounces (60 g) fresh tarragon leaves, carefully stemmed, rinsed, dried and leaves separated
2 ounces (60 g) fresh mint, stemmed, rinsed, dried and leaves separated
In a large, shallow bowl, whisk together the vinegars and salt. Whisk in the oil and pepper. Taste for seasoning. Add all the herb leaves and toss to evenly coat the greens with the dressing. Taste for seasoning. Serve in small portions as an accompaniment to roast chicken, or grilled or poached fish.

FOUR TO SIX SERVINGS

VARIATION: The dressed salad can also be placed—open-face-sandwich fashion—on top of grilled bread that has been brushed with olive oil


Recipe from Patricia Wells at Home in Provence by Patricia Wells
(Scribner Books; $40.00/hardcover; October 7, 1996)
Reprinted with permission

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Lisa Ekus Presents...

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