When I looked at the weather app on my phone this morning, the temperatures above are what I saw. Paris is having a “canicule”—a heat wave! It certainly determined what I wanted to cook this week. No turning on the oven–salads and chilled soups will be on the menu instead.
A salad that I tasted recently at a fabulous Left Bank restaurant, Le Bon Saint Pourçain, was the inspiration for our lunch today. The image of halved cherry tomatoes, paper thin shavings of radish, and sliced red onion served with whipped chèvre was still dancing around in my head. The cool refreshing flavors as well as the vivid colors of this dish were appealing, but I also appreciated that all the ingredients were seasonable, and readily available in my neighborhood markets.
Although the original salad had two sauces (a basil sauce and a tomato dressing), I opted for a single orange vinaigrette. For the whipped goat cheese, I whipped a creamy chèvre with milk, and added fresh chives and tarragon.
My husband loved this dish served with some crusty rolls and chilled white wine. A bowl of fresh apricots, nectarines, and cherries made a perfect ending to our Paris déjeuner!
Copyright Betty Rosbottom 2017
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Cherry Tomato and Radish Salad in Orange Vinaigrette with Whipped Chèvre
4 tbsp freshly orange juice
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1tsp grated orange zest
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 tbsp finely chopped shallots
4 tbsp canola or vegetable oil
Cherry Tomato and Radish Salad
4 generous cups ripe cherry tomatoes, halved
8 medium radishes trimmed and cut crosswise into paper-thin slices
1 cup very thinly sliced red onion cut into 1-inch lengths
1 cup fresh chèvre (such as Chavrie) at room temperature
2 tbsp or up to 2/3 cup milk, preferably whole or 2%
4 tsp minced chives
4 tsp chopped tarragon
Freshly ground black pepper
40 medium basil leaves, torn into large pieces
Sea salt such as fleur de sel
1. For the vinaigrette, in a medium nonreactive bowl, whisk the orange and lemon juices, orange zest, mustard, and salt together. Stir in the shallots and then whisk in the oil. (Vinaigrette can be prepared 1 day ahead; cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature and whisk well before using.)
2. For the salad, place the tomatoes radishes, and red onion in a large bowl and toss with 2/3 of the vinaigrette. Let the tomato mixture marinate while you prepare the whipped chèvre.
3. For the whipped chèvre, break the cheese into chunks and place in a medium bowl. Gradually, whisk in 2 tablespoons of the milk or enough until mixture has the consistency of sour cream.. Depending on how creamy your chèvre is, you may need as little as 2 tablespoons or up to 2/3 cup milk. (See note following this recipe.) Stir in the chives and tarragon. Season cheese with salt and pepper.
3. To assemble the salad, add the basil leaves to the tomatoes and radishes and toss well.
Spoon the mixture into 4 shallow bowls along with any juices. Using a teaspoon, garnish each salad with several spoonfuls of the whipped chèvre. Spoon some the remaining dressing over each serving and sprinkle each with sea salt and a grind of pepper. Serves 4.
Cooking note: If you are using an extra creamy chèvre such as Chavrie, you will need only about 2 tablespoons of milk. Creamy, but firmer goat cheeses will require more milk. After 2 tablespoons, add the milk, very gradually about 1 to 2 teaspoons at a time, until you get the right consistency.
Copyright Betty Rosbottom 2017