SALADE AUVERGNATE

It can get quite cold among the Auvergne mountains, even at the height of summer, so a filling and hearty salad is ideal. It's easy enough to make, but my research has produced over 50 variations on the recipe, all of which profess to be authentic. So, to be sure I had an authentic recipe, I visited a friend living in the Auvergne, and asked her mother to make the renowned salad. This is what she came up with.


INGREDIENTS

·         6 medium-sized potatoes – do not peel

·         1 tbsp sea salt

·         1 tsp table salt

·         1 tbsp cider vinegar

·         1 tsp ground black pepper

·         1 tsp Dijon mustard (although English mustard works very well, too)

·         3 tbsps walnut oil (or vegetable oil)

·         mixed green salad – ideally make your own from whatever is currently available at the market – chop the salad, but not too fine.

·         2 slices of cured ham, cut into ½-wide strips

·         500gm Cantal cheese, or Fourme d'Ambert if you like strong blue cheese, cut into cubes

·         1 shallot, peeled and diced

·         1 tbsp chopped chives


METHOD

Variant:

You could add some chopped walnuts, if you wish.

1. Cook the potatoes in their skins in salted water for about 20 minutes. Then dry them, peel them and cut them into slices or cubes.

2. Prepare a smooth vinaigrette by mixing the walnut oil, the cider vinegar, table salt, pepper and the mustard and the shallot. [Start with the cider vinegar, salt and pepper, stirring well; then add the mustard, then the oil a little at a time, whisking until the dressing is smooth.]

3. Add the salad, and toss well for about 3 minutes, then add the potatoes, ham and cheese.

4. Add the shallot and chives, and toss again.

5. Check and adjust the seasoning, and serve immediately.