This dish is perfect for days when you don’t want to spend time cooking but still want a tasty and wholesome dinner. What I like about this salad first of all is that you can make it in advance. In fact, it will get better with a few hours left in the fridge so that the flavours infuse into the potatoes. Next, is its simplicity and versatility. You can change the ingredients to suit what’s in your fridge and the cooking and assembly will take you a mere 30 minutes.
I’ll give you my basic recipe and then suggestions to change it as you please.
Serves 4 people as a main or 8 as a starter
8 to 10 medium potatoes, peeled
A handful of parsley
A small bunch of chives
75g very good hard cheese such as Comté, vintage cheddar, Emmenthal…
1 1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
3 tbsp vinegar (red/white wine vinegar, cider or malt)
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
- Peel and place the potatoes (cut in half if they are big) in the internal basket. Add 500g water in the TM bowl, set the basket inside the bowl and cook 25min/Varoma/speed 1. Check the potatoes are cooked at the end and add more water and time if needed.
- While the potatoes are cooking, make the dressing by mixing the mustard, vinegar and salt & pepper together in the serving bowl.
- Whisk in the oil to get an emulsion (i.e. the oil is incorporated in the mustard/vinegar mixture). I like my dressing to be strong and mustardy. Feel free to reduce the mustard but bear in mind that the potatoes absorb a lot of dressing so it needs to be strong for the best effect (you don’t want your dressing to be too oily).
- Fry the bacon in a dry pan until golden. Tip onto kitchen paper to absorb the excess fat.
- Using scissors, finely chop the herbs into the dressing. Add the bacon and the cooked and sliced potatoes (the potatoes must be still hot at this stage for maximum dressing absorption).
- Toss into the dressing and leave to cool at room temperature.
- Meanwhile, cut the cheese into small dice. Add to the cooled potato mixture and either eat now or refrigerate until use. Take out of the fridge 15 minutes before serving to get back to room temperature.
- Variations: you can add boiled eggs, sliced tomatoes, cooked green beans or asparagus to the salad. Substitute the bacon with salami or any cured ham, cut in chunks. Use blue cheese instead of hard cheese for stronger flavour. Add toasted walnuts for some extra crunch. A few thinly sliced spring onion (or scallions) would also be nice. Use your imagination and make this salad your own!
If you are one who hesitates between cheese or dessert, why not do both? This recipe allies the sweetness of pears with the sharpness of Roquefort cheese and the walnuts add a nice crunch. It’s wonderful served with a simple green salad!
Source: Tartes, quiches et cakes salés from Sylvie Ait Ali
For 6 people
A handful of walnuts, roughly chopped
1 puff pastry
- Butter and flour a tart tin.
- Roll the puff pastry and place in the tin. Prick with a fork and refrigerate.
- Preheat the oven at 200C.
- Peel and quarter the pears. Core them if necessary.
- Crumble the Roquefort cheese.
- Take the tart tin out of the fridge and harmoniously place the pear quarters on the pastry. Add the crumbled evenly cheese between each pear quarter and finish by sprinkling the chopped walnuts on top.
- Bake for 20 to 30 minutes (watch the walnuts so they don’t burn).
- Serve hot with a salad of your choice.
This is a recipe I got from my mother. It’s a posher version of the simple croque-monsieur. The great thing about this is that you can use the leftover soufflé mixture to make soufflés (but you have to make these at once as the beaten egg whites won’t stay fluffy for long).
Makes 8 croques
Cheese soufflé mixture
100g cheese (Cheddar, Emmenthal, Comté…) cut in chunks
300g milk (or half cow’s milk and half soja milk for a lighter version)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 egg yolks
2 egg whites
8 slices of bread (white or brown)
8 slices of ham
- Preheat the oven at 200C
- Put all the ingredients except the milk and the eggs into the TM bowl and mix 10 seconds, speed 5 to chop the cheese.
- Add the milk and cook for 7 minutes, 90C, speed 4.
- Add the 2 egg yolks to the cheese sauce and stir 20 sec, speed 3.
- Pour out the sauce into a bowl and leave it to cool slightly.
- Clean the TM bowl thoroughly with soapy water (you can self-clean the bowl first by covering the blades with hot water, add a drop of washing liquid and mix 20 sec, speed 10 and clean out the residues of sauce by taking out the blades from the unit and clean them with a small brush).
- Put the 2 egg whites in the bowl and add a pinch of salt.
- Add the butterfly whisk and whisk for 3 minutes, speed 3, measuring cup off.
- Gently fold the whites to the cheese sauce mixture until combined but careful to not overmix.
- Put the the slices of bread on a baking tray (line it with baking parchment as the soufflé mixture tends to spread)
- Butter each slice and add a slice of ham on each (or several slices if the ham is thinly cut).
- Spoon in the soufflé mixture but make sure to leave the edges of the bread free as the soufflé will expand.
- Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes and serve at once.
- Use the leftover soufflé mixture if any to make those gorgeous smoked salmon soufflés.
This is a very much loved classic in our family. It’s very tasty and is made in minutes with the Thermomix. The pancake batter only takes 20 secondes (and there is no lumps to worry about) and the bechamel sauce takes 7 minutes! The beauty with this recipe is that any remaining pancake batter can be used to make sweet pancakes by just adding 1 tbsp of sugar and 1 tsp vanilla extract (and 1 tbsp of rum if you like), so you also have a dessert as well!
3 slices of ham, cut in 1 cm squares
500g milk (or 250g cow’s milk and 250g of soya milk for lighter batter)
1 tbsp neutral oil (like sunflower)
1/4 tsp salt
50g cheddar cheese cut into 3cm chunks
500g milk (or 250g cow’s milk and 250g of soya milk for a lighter version)
A pinch of grated nutmeg
- A couple of hours before, make the pancake batter by adding all the ingredients to the Thermomix bowl and mix 20 sec, speed 6. Pour out in a bowl, cover and refrigerate.
- Make the bechamel sauce: add the flour, butter and cheese in the Thermomix bowl and mix 8 sec, speed 5
- Add the milk and cook for 7 min, 90C, speed 4
- Add the nutmeg and ham and stir 10 sec, reverse blade direction, speed spoon
- Pour a laddle of batter in a hot pan with a knob of butter and cook 1 minute on the first side and 20 seconds on the other side. Tilt the pancake out on a plate and fill it with the ham and cheese bechamel.
- Fold the pancake and serve immediately.
- Note that you can vary the filling by adding cooked sliced mushrooms, pieces of cooked chicken, cooked bacon or some cooked vegetables to the bechamel sauce.