saint germain salad

This recipe was inspired by my time in Paris...you can tell by now how much I love it there, can't you?

There are lovely little cafés and brasseries everywhere in Paris - with striped awnings and little bistro tables spilling out onto the sidewalk.  The waiters wear aprons and the day's menu is written on a chalkboard outside.  It's incredibly picturesque and I think I loved that Parisians enjoy places like this too - these beautiful little restaurants aren't constructed just for the tourist ideal.   The menus generally have an assortment of bistro fare: pate, soup, steak & frites and lovely fresh salads.  I put this salad together with ingredients from several salads I had in Paris and the result was wonderful.  The warm potato slices really add something to the salad, making it feel more like 'dinner' without making it a heavy meal and I kept the dressing nice & light so that it wouldn't overpower the vegetables.  This salad will be my little taste of Paris when I'm back in Canada looking through all my vacation photos.

Oh, and I should explain - Saint Germain is one of the neighbourhoods of Paris, the 6th arrondissement, and one of my favourites.

Saint Germain Salad

  • about 2lbs. of new potatoes, cut into 1/4" thick coins
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • about 2 cups fresh green beans, ends trimmed
  • 1 small head of butter lettuce, washed and torn into pieces
  • 1/2 - 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup Manchego cheese (or another hard cheese), flaked
  • about 6 slices Parma or Prosciutto ham

Lemon Dijon Dressing

  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp finely minced onion or shallot
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to about 350F.  Toss the potato coins with the olive oil and crushed garlic.  Spread in a single layer on a parchment-paper covered cookie sheet and bake for about 35 minutes (until they're golden on the outside and tender on the inside).

While the potatoes are roasting bring a medium sized saucepan of water to a boil and prepare an ice bath for the green beans.  After the water boils, lightly salt it, then add the beans.  Allow the beans to boil for about 5 minutes then drain them and quickly transfer them to the ice bath to stop them from cooking.  Allow the beans to cool for a few minutes, then drain them again and allow them to sit on some paper towel until you put the salad together.  They should be bright green and still crisp when you bite into one.

Also while the potatoes are roasting make the dressing.  Combine the mustard, onion and lemon juice in a small bowl.  Slowly pour the olive oil into the mixture while whisking to emulsify the oil.  Season the dressing with salt & pepper, to taste.

I like to dress the salad by adding the dressing to the bottom of a large bowl then adding in the lettuce and tossing it, that way extra salad dressing will stay near the bottom of the bowl.  Divide the lettuce between two plates, or put it into a serving bowl.  Put the green beans into the bowl you dressed the lettuce in and toss them around to give them a bit of dressing.  Add the green beans to the top of the salad then sprinkle the cherry tomatoes over top.  Flake the cheese over top (using that wide blade on the side of your box grater), then add the potato coins and top with 2-3 slices of ham.

Serves 2 for dinner, or more people as a side-dish.