So here are a few composed salads to serve for summer lunch. A few of them I just found in an old collection of French recipes, as in these are in French written for French housewives.
Shrimp, Mango and Avocado Salad
6-7 oz smoked or cooked small shrimp (they should be peeled in the package)
1 med avocado, peeled
1 yellow mango, ripe, peeled
4 scallions or 1 sm red onion
1 sm serrano pepper, seeded and minced
2 extra lg eggs, hard boiled and peeled
1/2 c sm green olives with pimento stuffing
16 sm grape or cherry tomatoes (bite sized)
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, leaves only, coarsely chopped
3-4 oz. arugula or watercress or frisee
1/4 c fresh lime juice (probably 1 1/2 limes)
1/2 c good quality olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to your taste
Cut the avocado and mango into bite-sized pieces.
Slice the scallion into thin disks, the red onion into very thin rings
Cut the eggs in half lengthwise, then cut each half into two or three wedges
To compose this salad: lay the arugula or watercress on the bottom of the serving plate or individual plates.
In a medium/lg bowl, combine the avocado, mango, scallions/onion, shrimp, pepper, olives, tomatoes and cilantro. Mix them up.
Whisk the lime juice and olive oil together and pour as much as you prefer over the salad.
Arrange the contents of the bowl on top of the greens. Surround with the egg wedges. Season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!
Salade Henriette: chicken with apples, watercress and cheese
2 Granny Smith apples
1 bunch watercress, very green and crisp, washed and dried carefully
2 cooked chicken breasts
4 oz Gruyere cheese
1 lemon, juice only
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 doz fresh chives
2 tbsp chervil OR fresh tarragon and parsley, finely chopped
1 sm red onion
1 tsp French/Dijon mustard
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to your taste
1 sm lemon, in very thin slices for garnish
Wash the apples. Cut them in quarters and remove all seeds and fibrous core. Then cut the quarters into small pieces. Cut the cheese into small cubes. Shred the chicken and cut it into bite-sized pieces. Slice the onion into very thin rings. Chop the chives.
In your salad bowl, put the mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Whisk in the oil to make a creamy dressing. Put in all the salad ingredients you've prepared and carefully blend with the dressing. Garnish with lemon slices and serve.
Vietnamese Cabbage and Chicken Salad
For the dressing which you make first
2 chilies, seeded and minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
3 tbsp fresh lime juice
3 tbsp corn or vegetable oil
3 tbsp fermented fish sauce (nam pla)
1 med onion, sliced in very thin rings
Combine all ingredients into a dressing and let stand 30 minutes.
2 poached, shredded chicken breasts without skin or bones
4 cups shredded green or white cabbage
1/2 c fresh mint leaves, chopped
1 c shredded carrots
1/2 c fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
Combine all but cilantro in a serving bowl and blend in the dressing. Garnish with cilantro to serve.
Salade Claudine: ham and apple with cucumber and tomato
2 ripe tomatoes
1 Granny Smith apple
2 thick slices of ham
1 c fromage blanc or quark or any fresh white cheese soft enough to whip (thin cream cheese)
1 celery stalk, preferably from inside so it's not stringy
1 garlic clove
1 tbsp fresh tarragon leaves or 1 tsp dried
Fresh flat leaf parsley for garnish, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to your taste
Peel and slice the cucumber into very thin disks. Put them in a sieve with a pinch of salt for five minutes to get some of the water out. Cut the tomatoes in quarters and lightly salt them.
Cut the apple in quarters, remove the seeds and pith, then slice the quarters lengthwise into thin half moon wedges. Squirt a bit of lemon juice on them so they don't brown. Dice the celery. Remove any fat from the ham and slice it into thin strips. Mince the shallots and garlic.
Put the white cheese into a large salad bowl and whip it to aerate. Keep whisking while you add the lemon juice. Add freshly ground black pepper to your taste. Dry the cucumber slices. Add all the salad ingredients to the bowl, the tarragon and parsley last. Carefully blend everything. Refrigerate 10 minutes before serving.
Asparagus with Eggs and Smoked Salmon
This is a great way to use the less costly smoked salmon bits you often find at fish and farmers' markets. It's best when asparagus is fresh in season so you get tender stalks that cook quickly.
2 eggs, hard boiled and peeled
2 bunches tender medium thick asparagus--try to get uniform stalks
2 tsp small capers, drained
4 oz smoked salmon bits or slices cut into bits
1 sm red onion, minced
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp best quality olive oil
8 slices day old baguette
soft herbed white cheese like Boursin or any soft, herbed goat or sheep cheese
Put the bread slices on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with a tiny amount of olive oil. Toast them in a 325º oven until they are brown and crunchy. You can do this ahead and store them in an airtight tin.
Cut the tough ends off the asparagus spears and put them in a large pot of boiling salted water on medium heat for 3-5 minutes, until they are tender but NOT mushy. Drain and dry. While they are still warm, cut them in half, put them on a serving plate and drizzle with the olive oil. Salt them lightly. Sprinkle the capers and salmon bits over the top. Season everything with freshly ground black pepper. Grate the eggs over the top of everything.
Slather the soft white cheese on each crouton like bread slice and arrange them around the rim of the salad plate. Serve and enjoy!