Taste of Paris: Salade aux Chevre Chaud
"It's in my 'misser,'" Middle would say whenever he was wistful after a particularly fun experience. After a family outing, holiday, or vacation, we'd notice that he'd be just a little bit blue, and inevitably when we asked him what was wrong, he'd answer something along the lines of, "I've got the mountains in my misser." Sometimes, he'd have a specific person in his misser. "Poppy's in my misser," for instance. Of course, we added "misser" to our family lexicon. Now we say things like, "Is there any of that caramel cake left? It's in my misser."Lately, Paris has been in my misser. I spent a week there this past September. It was for work, but it sure didn't seem like work. I was there with a dozen members of our museum's collectors group, and, of course, we had incredible access to museums. We also visited a number of private collections in Paris apartments and homes. And we had lots of free time for delicious dining, shopping, strolling, and even antiquing at Marché Vernaison.
So, with Paris in my misser this week, I decided I'd try my hand at a little French cuisine. One of my favorite lunches in Paris was the classic Salade aux Chevre Chaud or arugula with warm goat cheese. Simple and incredibly delicious.
Start with a fresh baguette, and slice it on the diagonal.
Brush the tops of the slices with olive oil and top with a slice or crumbles of goat cheese.
Bake at 400 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. While the baguette slices are toasting, fill your plate with about a cup and a half of washed and dried arugula, or mixed baby greens. For dressing, I mixed olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and fresh-squeezed lemon juice in equal parts to make about a half cup of liquid, plenty for four salads. Then, I added a couple of shakes of salt and pepper and whisked it all together. Lightly dress the greens and then top with three or four goat cheese toasts.
For the final and delicious touch, drizzle the bread lightly with honey. I added blackberries because I had them on hand, but toasted walnuts would be the traditional French touch.
Salade aux chevre chaud would make a perfect first course for a company meal, but it's easily manageable for a family supper or girlfriend lunch. I could eat this every day, and since the Mister gave it a 9.5, I think I'll be serving it a lot this season and remembering Paris.
Do you have any favorite French foods?