Winter salad

Winter salad

If we can’t use Maine tomatoes in winter, what can we use?

This is a salad we made for last week’s test dinner. It has: a pickled beet, a glazed carrot, a baton of delicata squash, a quenelle of chard sauteed with garlic and chopped, two kinds of radish, a broccolini floret in mustard dressing, a cauliflower floret cooked with olive oil and preserved lemon, a kale chip, arugula microgreens, and some roasted pumpkin seeds. They are sitting on a film of sauce made with black beans and apples. (As an aside, does anyone remember the New York Magazine’s Annotated Dish? That was awesome – we wish we could do that on the blog!)

We love the salad. It will, most likely, be a staple of our menus. We have already made countless versions of it, guided always by the same idea – to put on the same plate one of everything that’s in season, cooked (or not!) in the best possible way for what it is. The inspiration, of course, is Michele Bras’ Gargouillou, although we probably get more seasonal variation in New England than Monsieur Bras does in France. The July version will probably have none of the components of this February iteration, and there’s a joy, as well as a challenge, in tracing the arc from tiny pea shoots to pickled beets.

Every Gargouillou looks different. You can spend quite a few pleasant minutes with Google image search, looking at pictures of various salads. This New York Times article has several good ones, one Bras’ own and several homages.

You can find Bras’ official Gargouillou “recipe” here in pdf form (sadly without a picture).

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