|Salad from Périgieux|
This is a composed salad from the Southwest of France that can either be served as a 1st course, or as a full meal. There are many variations of this salad, but they all tend to have gésiers confit (gizzards that are cooked in duck fat over low heat and for a long time – they are very delicious prepared this way and part of the regional culture). After that, you can add other items such as cured duck breast, tomatoes, bacon, crispy duck skin, walnuts, and garlicy potatoes. You could also make it even more regional by adding a slice of foie gras or country pâté. I am not a fan of raw onions in salads unless they are the sweetest possible. Instead, I almost always pan fry onions, adding a little garlic and herbs at the end. I’ll remove this from the pan and then use the same pan for warming the gesiers or cooking up some bacon bits. The croutons add a nice crunch to any salad. Feel free to play around with the ingredients. Enjoy!
Ingrédients – 4 personnes as a 1st course
Tender salad greens, roughly 30g per person
3-4 preserved duck gizzards
8 slices of smoked duck breast (salt cured)
8 quail eggs (you will use 3 halves per person, and cook an extra or two in case…)
Vine-ripened summer tomato, 1 or 2 depending on size
Other optional ingredients (quantity desired): Bacon lardons, fresh goat cheese, pâté, foie gras, cooked green beans.
1 - 2 onions - to cook
Fresh goat cheese
Croutons, to taste
Walnut Oil Vinaigrette (see below for quantities)
Raspberry vinegar – or apple cider vinegar
Seasoning to taste
- Quail eggs: bring to room temperature. Bring water to gentle boil. Cook 2-3 minutes (depending on your preferred doneness). Plunge immediately in ice cold water. Peel. Rinse under cold water to remove any clinging shell. Pat dry. Cut in half & reserve. Just before serving: season with a drizzle of olive oil, then salt & pepper.
- Croutons: Dice bread. Heat a decent quantity of frying oil in a pan (or duck fat if you have it). Add croutons and stir until golden. Remove from pan with slotted spoon and immediately season with salt and pepper to taste. Reserve. These can also be done in the oven which uses less oil.
- Walnuts: shell the walnuts and reserve. Fresh walnuts do not need roasting.
- Gésiers (gizzards) – remove any undesirable tendons, etc. Cut into slices. Reserve. Just before serving, warm these in a frying pan with a little duck fat and season. Do this at the last minute.
- Tomatoes: slice, season and reserve. By seasoning, I mean add a dash of walnut oil and then lightly sprinkle with salt and piment d’Espelette. Do this just before serving otherwise the tomatoes will go soggy.
- Onions: dice and caramelize over low heat with a pinch or two of salt, until it sweetens and darkens in color naturally. I press in some garlic and add some chopped parsley at the end. Reserve.
- Magret séché (cured duck breast): Slice very thinly. Reserve. Duck confit can be substituted for the cured duck breast. You could also serve both if you are going for a main course.
- Salad: Triple rinse and triple spin dry the salad. Reserve in the fridge hours before you need it in order to crisp it up.
- Vinaigrette: Place vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper in a bowl (or other container including glass jars that work well). Wisk. Add the oil and emulsify. Walnut oil makes this nice, but if you can’t source it, then substitute with another nut-based oil or even olive oil. The standard ratio is to use 1/3 vinegar with 2/3 oil – after this, add more oil, mustard or vinegar to taste. Don’t be shy with the salt!
- Bacon bits (if using): fry till golden and lightly crispy; drain the oil and reserve. Best when served still warm.
- Assembly: Toss the salad, caramelized onions and croutons with only enough vinaigrette to nicely coat the leaves and not more. Place the following in a decorative, organized way on top of the salad (this is what makes it composed after all!!): a few warmed gizzard slices, a couple of duck breast slices (and/or bacon bits), and a couple of tomato slices. Add 3 seasoned quail egg halves per plate, and some walnut halves or pieces. If adding cooked green beans, be sure to season with vinaigrette. Finish by adding fresh goat cheese. If you are serving Rocamadour style goat cheese (aged a couple days or more), then you can heat in a 200°C/400°F oven for a couple of minutes until heated through. Sprinkle salad with fleur de sel to finish. Adding all of the ingredients listed here will make this a copious salad and turn it into a main course. You can decide when to stop adding more ingredients! Serve and enjoy!