Poor neglected blog! Summer is a busy season; I just have time to post a recipe for this lovely salad from Savoie. It makes an excellent fuss-free starter when you are having a substantial main course; or you could eat it as a light lunch. Non-vegetarians can add strips of prosciutto or serrano ham, or crisply fried bacon bits. You can prepare all the ingredients in advance, adding the dressing and croutons at the last minute. This amount will serve about four people.
1 large crisp lettuce, e.g. Batavia, or mixed salad leaves
2-3 slices day-old white bread, crusts removed
2-3 shallots or spring onions, very finely chopped
300 g Comté or Gruyère cheese
a handful of walnuts, halved
2 tbs red wine vinegar
1 tbs Dijon mustard
4 tbs olive oil
2-3tbs single cream
salt and pepper
To make the croutons: heat the oven to 180C and cut or tear the bread into pieces about 1 cm square. Put in a bowl, sprinkle with salt, and drizzle over a little olive oil. Use your hands to toss so that the bread is coated with oil. Spread out on a baking tray and bake for 8-10 minutes, turning once, till it is evenly browned and crisp. Set aside.
Wash and dry the lettuce and cut the cheese into small dice, about 50mm. Make the dressing by whisking together the mustard and vinegar, then gradually whisking in the oil. Stir in 2 tbs of cream and season with salt and pepper. Taste it and if you think it’s too sharp, add a little more cream. Add the cheese to the dressing and set aside.
To assemble, put the lettuce in a bowl and add the walnuts and shallots or spring onions. Pour over the dressing and cheese, and toss thoroughly. Sprinkle over the croutons and serve.