The myriad of vinaigrette options turn simple, fresh ingredients into a magically delicious meal that satiates the palate and satisfies the curious appetite. After reading Susan Herrmann Loomis’ latest book, in her “Always Salad” chapter, I was reminded that salade doesn’t always have to involve one or a handful of types of lettuce. Why not simply include mushrooms and red onions?
The meaty bite of the mushrooms makes the dish versatile as either a dinner salad (after dinner, not before – Susan explains why in her book) or a light meal with a crisp glass of wine enjoyed on the terrasse. And the vinaigrette finishes the simple pairing, elevating the salad to a complex dish full of French flair.
Full of suggestions on how to cook and shop as the French do every day, this recipe is just a glimpse of what you will enjoy throughout the book.
Mushroom Salad with Caper Vinaigrette
(Salade de Champignons à la Vinaigrette de Càpres)
Time: 20 minutes
- 2 tablespoons capers
- 1 lb (500g) fresh firm button or cremini mushrooms
- 1 medium (5 oz; 150g) red onion, peeled and very thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- pinch of fine sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard, preferably Maille brand
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup (85ml) extra virgin olive oil (the best quality you can afford)
- 1 handful of fresh chives (or garlic chives)
- fleur de sel
- Drain capers and soak in a small bowl with warm water. Let sit while you mix and chop the rest of the ingredients.
- Trim the stems off of the mushrooms. Clean and then slice very thin.
- Place the mushroom slices in a mixing bowl with the finely sliced red onion. Mix carefully with your hands making sure not to break the mushrooms.
- In a separate small bowl make the vinaigrette: combine the lemon juice, soy sauce, salt, sugar, mustard and pepper to taste. Whisk in the extra virgin olive oil.
- Drain the soaking capers and mince finely. Add the capers to the vinaigrette. Taste and season as necessary.
- Save 4-8 chives from the bunch to use as garnish. Then finely chop the remaining chives. Add to the vinaigrette.
- Instead of tossing the mushroom/onion mixture with the vinaigrette, spoon on each of the four plates half of the mixture. Spoon half of the vinaigrette, divided evenly among four dishes, over the the spoonful placed on the plate. Then add the remaining half of the salad to each of the plates. Finally, top with the remaining mushroom/onion mixture, followed by the vinaigrette equally. Season with fleur de sel and lay 1-3 chives over each serving.
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