Friday, November 25, 2011

All White Salad & Swiss Chard Pancakes (thank goodness for sous chefs!)

Helene's All White Salad & Swiss Chard Pancakes

It’s beautiful and sunny, perfect weather for Helene’s All-White Salad paired with Swiss Chard Pancakes for French Fridays with Dorie Chef’s Choice week.    The story of the Delicabar Snack Chic in the Le Bon Marche department store in Paris brought back memories of our trip to Paris.  Though we did not dine at this particular place, the market was amazing and I could have spent the day dining at each of the little cafes in the department store.  Story is that Helene Samuel wanted a menu with as much color as the room and came up with a slew of salads named for their hues.  This is the All-White Salad (keep in mind as you look at the photos).

Bounty of ingredients ready for Dorie's magic

Helene’s All White Salad is filled with readily available ingredients wherever you may find yourself cooking.  Celery, granny smith apples, white mushrooms and a Napa cabbage set the stage for a refreshing salad that could be used as the starter for a dinner party or the main event for a lunch.  The dressing is basically a mayonnaise and is done within a couple minutes and with very few ingredients – egg yolk, Greek yogurt, fleur de sel, and white pepper, olive oil and lemon juice.

Such great shades of white with the hint of green from the Napa Cabbage

This is really all that the dressing is - only thing not here is the addition of oil & lemon juice

In less than 2 minutes - a tangy, fresh dressing

The salad has the perfect amount of crispy, crunchy items, combined with the sweet tartness of the apple.  The tangy dressing is light and refreshing and compliments the flavors of the salad to perfection.    I added a little Parmigiano Reggiano to my salad (what can I say, I love cheese) which was a very good addition and fit with the all-white theme of the dish.   The recipe makes a very generous amount of salad and if you don’t dress the entire bowl you can have this for a few meals – the apples hold up well when covered and dressed with lemon juice.   It was perfect with the duck breast we had, great with the Thanksgiving turkey and good on its own with the Swiss Chard Pancakes.

Helene's All White Salad

Chef’s choice was only challenging in limiting me to one recipe, and since I did the salad, I thought I could do one more and was eager to the Swiss Chard Pancakes.  I adore savory items, and these pancakes did not disappoint.   Dorie says that the recipe makes about 40 and they freeze well so they would be perfect for keeping in your freezer for last minute guests, as a side to salads, or just a quick treat for yourself.  Since there are only two of us, I decided to take her advice and make the entire batch and freeze the leftovers.

Batter Up!

Anything obvious missing - say flour?

Thank goodness for sous chefs - batter corrected and now with flour!
This is a really simple recipe to make, especially if you read properly and put all the ingredients in.  For whatever reason, I had a brain cloud and couldn’t figure out why the batter didn’t need flour.  After unsuccessfully trying to fry one of my flourless batters, I called upon my sous chef for advice.  I told him the recipe didn’t call for flour and I was at a loss for what to do.  After 30 seconds of reading the recipe he jollily pointed out the second line of 2 ½ cups of flour required.  Still not sure how I missed that 20 times, but grateful for the correction, I started over and had smashing success.

It's amazing how pancakes work so much better with flour

Can't wait to taste these

Since I had forgotten to get parsley at the store I substituted thyme and rosemary for the parsley.  Dorie said this is the sort of recipe that people can use what they have and it will turn out great.  This may be a new way to “clean the fridge” of some of the leftover items.  The Swiss Chard was superb, and added a nice slightly bitter flavor to the pancake, but I can imagine that it would be equally good with kale, spinach, maybe even arugula.

Swiss Chard Pancakes - perfect for unexpected guests

It’s also a great canvas to dress up – we had one with a little crème fraiche and herbs, another with the crème fraiche, herbs and sliver of Parmigiano Reggiano.  I’m imagining a little sprinkle of freshly crumbled bacon could be quite heavenly as well.

Swiss Chard Pancakes & Helene's All White Salad - love it!

Gorgeous!  Tasty too!

As a side note, we also had Duck Breast with Persimmon Sauce.  It is an adaptation of the Duck Breast with Fresh Peaches on page 230 of Around My French Table.  Peaches are not in season but persimmon is and it made quite a lovely and festive holiday dish.  Now that I’ve learned Dorie’s secret to 20 minute duck breast the world is a different place.  Duck is now a semi-regular item in our house and a great substitute for the steak and veal chop dinners.  If you haven’t tried this technique, try it and you’ll be hooked!

Roast Duck with Persimmon Sauce

Perfect for a romantic dinner for two or a dinner party

Even Santa wants some of this duck!

To read more Chef's Choice French Friday's with Dorie experiences:


  1. Christy...great choice and I guess you had a wonderful thanksgiving feast and thanks for sharing with us your choice :) Have a great day!

  2. Splendid choice....and healthy too! The chard pancakes are beautiful, so glad you enjoyed making them.

  3. I love your choice, the all white salad paired with swiss chard pancakes makes a wonderful meal-lovely to look st as well! I would also add the parmesan cheese to my salad as I can't ever get enough of it;-) I'm looking forward to trying the duck recipe as well, the change to persimmons for the fall season is a great idea;-)

  4. I made this all white salad a few month ago and hated it. but these pancakes look amazing. Now that I come to think of it my salad didn't look as nice as yours either. But I really like this chard pancake thing...hmm....

  5. Loved your choice and will definitely try the pancakes ----- with whatever I have in the fridge. Duck is a favorite of mine also - glad to have some other ways to serve it. Great Post. Happy holidays.

  6. I absolutely love your choice of dishes! All three are intriguing recipes but the one that I would like to try most is the chard pancake. "Clear the fridge" recipe indeed!

  7. Looks like a lovely pairing! I'm intrigued by the all white salad, so glad to hear you enjoyed it.

    Have a great weekend!

  8. You will have had a good dinner, for sure. The three dishes sounds great. And it is fun to read that you are making duck now on regular basis because of the book.
    Happy thanksgiving.

  9. Wow - great round up.
    Love the chard pancakes - it's great when you can stash something like that readily in the freezer for easy eats later on.
    Hope your surgery goes well & your recovery is quick.

  10. What great choices. Everything looks wonderful and I love that you substituted in season persimmons for the peaches in the duck recipe. I had so much success with our last duck recipe that I really would like to try this recipe with persimmons. Brain cloud...sounds so much better than what call my brain cramps. :)

  11. Oh, you went ALL out, Christy! And everything looks fabulous!

  12. What a great choice!
    Your pics are great and love the pancakes!
    I didn't make the duck but you've got me thinking about it now!

  13. The swiss chard pancakes look great! I'd love to have some of those in my freezer.

  14. What a fun looking combo! Great post.

  15. I was wondering what you did with the persimmons! :) What a great meal you put together! I think after the blinis I am taken and drawn to any savory pancakes wtih creme fraiche as a topping... what can I say? I totally get why you made the full batch of batter for just the two of you!

  16. Everything looks great and I love the persimmons and duck! I've been hesitant about the white salad when I skimmed through the book, but this looks really good.


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