|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.
|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: