Simple Salad & Dressing Recipe

It’s referred to in my vagabond family of travelers as “that salad”. A lot of the times you don’t even order it. It just always shows up. It comes as a side dish, a first course, and a lot of the times it’s served like a heavy handed garnish to round out a plate. Over many wine-fueled meals my family has complained, “Why we can’t get this kind salad at home?” My son loves it and stated a long time ago he would eat salad everyday if I only made it for him back at home. So I did, and I am happy to say that he now makes it for himself!

Click here to view my recipe for salade verte.

“That salad” is the classic French salad called salade verte and it’s served everywhere in France. I am serious here—the corner bistro, the cafeterias, the Michelin starred places, fancy burger joints, and even at the breakfast buffet at your hotel.  It is, at its most simple, a lightly dressed lettuce. No croutons, carrots, tomatoes, cucumber, etc. This salad doesn’t need any of it. It is perfect in its simplicity. Light, fresh, and delicious.

Since the salad is so simple, you’ve got to get it right when trying to recreate it at home. The lettuce that is most commonly used in France is what we here in America call Boston lettuce. Boston lettuce is part of the Butterhead family of lettuce. It is slighty bigger than Bibb lettuce, which tends to be easier to find around here. The leaves of both types of these lettuces are soft and tender, so you can usually find them packed in clear plastic containers that help prevent bruising.

For the dressing (a side note—the server will not give you a choice), it’s served with vinaigrette a la moutarde.  A classic vinaigrette made with Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, oil (usually sunflower or olive oil), salt, pepper, and finely minced shallot. Not a lot of variation here, although sometimes in southern France they will sub the vinegar with lemon juice and they always use olive oil.

The more I travel back to France and other parts of Europe the more I am starting to see a trend on using a bottled dressing that tends to be whitish in color and a little sweet. I can’t tell you all how disappointing that is! What has made this salad so distinctive is the freshness of the just-made vinaigrette. Sometimes the fast shortcuts are NOT the answer!

I challenge you to get out your whisk the next time you want to make a salad! Master this and you will be enjoying this simple balanced salad for years to come.

French Food You Must Try at DLM

A lot of folks think of art, romance, and the Eiffel Tower when France comes to mind. For us, it’s all about the French food & wine! There is not a region of France that does not produce some great beverage or gastronomic morsel that is not in demand throughout the world, and we are so fortunate to have such a plethora of great French food here at DLM. So come along and have a French picnic or French-inspired dinner right here in Dayton!

27 French Food Items You Must Try

 

1. LE VILLAGE SPARKLING FRENCH LEMONADE

Perfect for cocktails or a laid-back Saturday afternoon. Try it as the French do in a panaché: half lemonade and the other half a lager beer.

2. MACARON

Featuring a unique array of flavored shells and fillings, we get this French food favorite from our dear friend Ghyslain. Ship them!

3. MADRANGE JAMBON NATURAL HAM

No added nitrites, nitrates, water, or coloring, enjoy this ham on a baguette with a hint of Dijon mustard and cornichons.

4. MICHE BREAD

“Miche” is literally a French word for “loaf” and a fitting tribute to this bread’s rustic character. After tasting it on a bakery-lined street in Paris, we knew we needed to bake this bread at DLM!

5. J. LEBLANC HUILE DE NOIX WALNUT OIL

You’ll love the beautiful aroma of roasted walnuts from the south of France. For a vinaigrette, combine with Banyuls Vinegar or lemon juice. Have it shipped!

6. LE PITHIVIER

Named after the town where it originated in the Loire region of France, this puff pastry has a light almond cream.

7. OYSTERS

Walk into any French restaurant and you will likely see an oyster dish on the menu. In fact, it’s estimated that France is the No. 1 consumer and exporter of this wine of the sea.

8. JACQUES GONIDEC SARDINES

The ultimate treat smeared on a cracker, bread, or even eggs. Hand packed in olive oil and available with tomato, lemon, or chili peppers!

9. GROIX & NATURE SALMON OR SCALLOP RILLETTES

Fishing is second nature to the inhabitants of the island Groix in Southern Brittany. We like these delicacies on DLM Italian Mini Toasts, warm blinis, or in a salad.

10. FICELLE SANDWICHES

With varieties like The Parisian, you’ll be picnic-ready with a few of these French-style sandwiches in your basket.

11. CROQUE MONSIEUR

French ham, Gruyère cheese, and our béchamel sauce, grilled to perfection at our Sandwich Station!

12. LE CHOCOLAT DES FRANÇAIS

Delicious and fun, these high quality French chocolate bars have a whimsical side with labels that remind one slightly of an Andy Warhol collection.

13. DLM BUTTER CARAMELS

The Paris-Caramels company’s reputation is based on the quality of the ingredients with only Charentes-Poitou PDO butter, milk, crème fraîche, and French cane sugar used in the making of these decadent treats.

14. LA MOUTARDERIE EDMOND FALLOT

Located in the charming village of Beaune (the heart of Burgundy), this mustard is unrivaled by any other taking this simple condiment to near gastronomic perfection!

15. LES COMTES DE PROVENCE

Jams with a wonderfully distinct flavor while not being overly sweet. Try spread over buttered Farmhouse toast.

Fromage of France

France’s varied terroir can sustain different milk-producing animals resulting in a variety of cheeses. Here are some of our favorites, clockwise from the top left!

16. MORBIER

A rich cows’ milk cheese with a traditional line of ash separating the morning and evening milk. This pungent cheese is great on a baguette with a glass of red wine.

17. P’TIT BASQUE

Sheeps’ milk cheese from the French side of the Pyrenees Mountains. This mild, delicate cheese is the perfect charcuterie accompaniment.

18. BRIE DE MEAUX

This is the luscious, true Brie from the region of Meaux. With its bloomy rind and earthy aromas, it’s simply divine with jams from Les Comtes de Provence served on top!

19. MIMOLETTE

An interesting cows’ milk cheese with a burnt orange color. It’s buttery in the palate with a slightly nutty, salty tone that makes it great in omelets!

20. LE PAPILLON ROQUEFORT

A sheeps’ milk cheese made in the world-famous caves of Roquefort. Simply smear on warm and crusty bread.

 

French Wines

21. LA FERME DE GICON CÔTES DU RHÔNE ROSÉ 2018

From the south of France, this is summer in a bottle with its bright, dry strawberry and raspberry fruit and floral tones. Made primarily of Grenache with a touch of Syrah, it is perfect with a cheese and olive plate.

22. CLARENDELLE BORDEAUX ROUGE 2015

A new favorite of ours with its blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc. Ample black currants and silky smooth tannins make it a very friendly dinner wine.

23. CHAMPALOU VOUVRAY LA CUVÉE DES FONDRAUX 2017

This Loire Valley wine shows a lot of stone fruit and orange peel wrapped in an elegant sheath of crisp acidity, pairing well with seafood and a variety of French food. This is a seriously good Chenin Blanc from vines averaging 45+ years!

24. CLOS LA COUTALE CAHORS 2015

This is the ultimate dinner wine that is just the right balance of rustic old worldliness and total drinkability! A blend of primarily Malbec and a touch of Merlot, this wine is made for grilled steaks.

25. CHÂTEAU GRAVILLE-LACOSTE GRAVES BLANC 2017

A crisp, invigorating white wine that is made primarily from Sémillon in Bordeaux. It lends itself well to seafood, roasted chicken, or a salad with a vinaigrette made with Leblanc Huile de Noix Walnut oil.

26. FLORENSAC PICPOUL DE PINET 2017

A great everyday white wine that’s crisp, clean, and vibrant making it perfect as a crowd pleaser on the patio or paired with light seafood or poultry dishes.

27. DOMAINE DE VERQUIÈRE RASTEAU

Organically farmed Grenache and Syrah from a small family estate beneath the limestone cliffs of the Dentelles de Montmirail. Intensely flavored, it’s a beautiful wine paired with grilled foods or a hearty cheese and charcuterie plate.

Tulips: The Gateway to Spring

The arrival of spring comes in many different forms, but there’s nothing quite like the brilliant colors of tulips illuminating our Floral department. Stuart Delk, Floral & Plant Director says it best, “Tulips are the gateway to spring.” Simple, yet elegant, these blooms have become a favorite flower during this season. But how did tulips come to be so significant?

A member of the lily family, these flowers have a rich history. Because of its delicate nature and wide array of colors, this flower became a symbol of luxury in Europe. As the story goes, the price of tulips skyrocketed due to their extreme popularity and difficulty of cultivation. This frenzy is said to have caused a financial crash of the Dutch economy and caused what’s known as “Tulip Mania.” Although they have a complex past, or maybe thanks to it, tulips are celebrated each spring.

tulips

With their history rooted in the Netherlands, the idea that Dutch tulips are superior is a common misconception. Stuart states, “Dutch doesn’t necessarily mean quality.” We’re proud to receive our tulips from Mount Vernon, Washington. The cool maritime climate, defined by cold but not freezing winters transitioning to warm summers, paired with the fertile soil makes this location tulip paradise. In that area, spring has truly sprung when the fields are painted with these breathtaking blooms.

Throughout the month of April we will be carrying colorful cut tulips from Washington. Whether in a bouquet or an arrangement, these iconic flowers are a sure way to push away memories of the cold, wintry months and welcome spring with open arms.

Steps to Arranging Tulips Like a Pro

To keep flowers fresh, be sure to take them home and place in water as soon as possible.

  1. Clean your vase thoroughly. Flowers will last longer if the vase is free of contaminants.
  2. Fill vase with room temperature, clean water and flower food.
  3. Trim flower stems with a really sharp edge. A crushed edge may make it difficult for your flower to absorb the food and water.
  4. Place several tulips in vase. A fuller vase will lead to a better looking arrangement.
  5. Keep it simple! Tulips are beautiful as they are—there’s no need to add foliage.
  6. Find the perfect spot. Place your vase in an area that is away from sunlight and heat drafts. These will cause your flowers to wilt quickly.
  7. Give the stems a fresh cut frequently. Trim the tulip stems every 2-3 days as tulips continue to grow after they’re cut.