Monday, September 12, 2011
Cooking Books is officially in France. I moved to Paris at the very end of August on a fellowship which is meant to force, er, facilitate the writing of my dissertation. As excited as I am to be here, I naturally miss home, R, the dogs, my kitchen. The 'kitchen' of my small Parisian apartment isn't what I'd call well-stocked. Essentially it consists of Two Burners and a Pan. (Maybe I should rename the blog for the year?)
Rather than fight it by investing in counter top ovens, or really even a toaster oven, I've decided to Embrace the Simplicity (another possible blog name?) and cook with what I have. Which for now is easy. Because what my version of Paris lacks in a batterie de cuisine, it makes up for by being, well, Paris. By offering produce and cheese and yogurt that I could only dream about in NYC (although that's not completely true, but I'm in the mood to embrace the challenge rather than fight it). And in some ways, cooking for only one person in such a set-up isn't really that hard. All you have to do is combine said produce, cheese and yogurt and serve.
So what if my winter veggies will be sautéed rather than roasted? So what if soups will likely replace braises. And so what if I can't bake. There are three patisseries in a one-block radius of my apartment. This salad is a perfect example of what you can do with perfect ingredients and almost no equipment. All you need is a large bowl, a fork and a knife. Oh, and incredible pears and melons don't hurt either. The idea for this salad started, in fact, with a charentais melon, which is a type of small French cantaloupe. You can sometimes find them at farmers markets in the US, apparently, but you can also substitute any kind of ripe cantaloupe that you find.
The first time I made this salad I also used a head of batavia lettuce, which has a slightly bitter after note. But the second time I made it with a mix of lettuces. Whatever is fresh and looks good is perfect. A high quality blue cheese finishes it all off and stands up well to a simple vinaigrette made with apple cider vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Simply mix, toss and serve.
Late Summer Salad
From the Cooking Books Kitchen
2-3 ripe pears, cored and sliced into thick slices (I don't bother peeling because I discovered that my peeler basically sucks.)
1/2 ripe charentais melon, or any cantaloupe, seeded and cubed
Handful of good blue cheese, like roquefort, crumbled
1 head of lettuce or bag of mixed greens
For the vinaigrette (I don't yet have measuring spoons or cups, so you'll have to do this by taste):
In the bottom of your salad bowl, use a fork to whisk together olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper.
Add the lettuce leaves and toss so that the leaves are evenly coated. Add the sliced pears and cubes of melon and gently toss again. Sprinkle the blue cheese on top and serve right away. Since the salad has already been dressed it won't keep, so eat it all right away.
Posted by Andrea at 7:25 AM