Helene's White Salad #FrenchFridayswithDorie

Saturday, February 15, 2014

This week's French Fridays with Dorie recipe is Helene's All White Salad. It is named after the woman who created it, another of Dorie's friends from Paris, Helene Samuel. She was the owner of a very fashion conscious cafe in Paris where the food was perfectly colour coordinated with the décor.

I was so happy when I saw it on the menu for this week! I've been on a quest to fit into a pair of jeans I bought two years ago and are a size too small now so salads were on the menu throughout the week and are going to be for the next few to come! 

Variety is a diet's best friend if you ask me and this salad is definitely something I've never tried before. 

Apples, white cup mushrooms, cabbage and celery sticks! All raw and fresh. It is definitely a herbivore's dream meal.

 I changed it up a bit to make it almost fat free since the original vinaigrette called for 3/4 cup of olive oil ---way too much for my diet--- and I used fennel instead of celery because George jinxed the celery.

On Thursday night as I was writing down the shopping list for the ingredients I needed to make the salad, George looked over my shoulder and said:

"This is going to be one strange salad. Where are you going to find celery sticks? Is celery even available in Zagreb?"

Off course there is celery in Zagreb! Tons of celery in Zagreb! I said. Only the day before I saw all these huge, fresh, almost fluorescent green, celery stalks sitting languidly in Mercator.

He looked at me with an apologetic puppy look and went back to his laptop to continue his battle with Championship Manager.

And then the next day when I went to the supermarket and all that beautiful celery was gone! I looked everywhere! Under the swiss chard and the spinach and the lettuces. No celery stalks anywhere. Talking about heartbroken!

I did find a few gorgeous bulbs of fennel though! They were white and crunchy and so aromatic. Perfect for a raw, fresh salad like this one. I sliced it really thin and I think it added so much flavour.

I also tampered with the vinaigrette. I tampered quite a lot actually. The original recipe calls for a type of mayonnaise made from an egg yolk, Greek yoghurt and olive oil. Very tasty, I am sure, but I opted to skip it all together and make a skinny version of a mustard vinaigrette with a little bit of coconut milk.

I have to confess that the fennel substitution worked perfectly with this salad! In the end I am happy that George jinxed the celery!

To see how my fellow Doristas liked this recipe please click here!

All White Salad with Fennel & Mushrooms
Adapted from "Around my French Table" by Dorie Greenspan
Serves 6

Ingredients for the Salad
1 large bulb of fennel
3 apples
Lemon juice
300gr (10 ounces) white cup mushrooms
1 small Napa cabbage
A few small cubes of Graviera cheese or any other hard cheese
Ingredients for the Vinaigrette
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons coconut milk
Water to taste

Wash and trim the fennel. Finely slice it using a food processor or a mandolin. Set aside.

Peel, halve and cut the apples into small cubes. Sprinkle them with a little lemon juice to keep them from becoming brown. 

Clean the mushrooms with a brush or a wet paper towel and slice them very thinly. Sprinkle them with lemon juice and add them to the apples. 

Wash the cabbage and cut it in very thin slices (like coleslaw) and add it to the bowl with the apples and mushrooms. Sprinkle the fennel slices on top and mix everything well.

Make the vinaigrette by mixing all the ingredients in a small jar. Shake the jar well until they emulsify. Add salt and pepper and a few tablespoons of water to make it as thin as you wish. The vinaigrette can be used immediately or stored in the fridge (might need to come to room temperature before it is used again due to the hardening of the coconut milk). 

To serve pour the vinaigrette over the vegetables and add a few cubes of cheese, if you want!