My Provençal Salad the Tastes of Eating Local in Provence
Recently, we were at the local pizza place in our village, and they offered (sadly for a short time only) a Salade des Alpilles. Arranged on the top of a bed of fresh mixed lettuces, there was an olive tapenade on small toasts, tomatoes, apricots, grapes and walnuts. It was a delicious sample of the terrior in each mouthful. This recipe from Chef Anne Challier for My Provençal Salad, is a similar idea to the one above. She combines ripe melon from Cavaillon, black olive tapenade, homemade pesto and fresh tomatoes in a dish that produces a taste of Provence in every bite.
Anne Challier and her twin sister Véronique (Vero) are a team who offer culinary services in the comfort of your home. Anne’s time with an apron runs deep, she attended a cooking school at École Hôtelière d’Avignon and then worked in a well respected French restaurant in the Alpilles. In 2009, the two sisters decided to combine their skills and warm personalities to offer homemade and healthy food for their clients. They launched Un air de famille, cuisine et service à domicile (details below).
Un air de famille menus are completely flexible based on your tastes, the number in your party, the occasion, and budget. You work with Anne to determine the final list and then your only job is to enjoy the meal.
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My Provençal Salad
For the Tapenade:
- 250 gr (1 cup) Black Olives pitted
- 1 clove garlic peeled and crushed
- 5 tbsp olive oil
- 2 small Anchovies or anchovy paste
- 1 tsp Capers
For the Pesto:
- 2 tbsp Pine nuts lightly roasted
- 1 cup Fresh Basil
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese grated
For the Salad:
- 1 ripe Cavaillon Melon peeled, sliced and seeded
- 16 Cherry Tomatoes 4 per plate, or tomato slices
- 12 Crostini Toasts 3 per plate for the tapenade
- 12 slices Speck (smoked prosciutto) 3 per plate
- 2 cups Arugula or other lettuce washed
- 12 slices Mozzarella 3 per plate
- 12 Caper Berries 3 per plate, for garnish
To make the Tapenade:
- Combine pitted olives, garlic, olive oil, anchovies and capers in a food processor and pulse until smooth. If the paste is a bit too dry, add some more olive oil - you want a spreadable consistency.
- Put the tapenade in a jar with a good top. Seal and store in your fridge.
To make the Pesto:
- Add all the ingredients - basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil and parmesan to a food processor and blend until smooth.
- Remove from the food processor and store in a covered jar in your refrigerator.
Assemble the Salad:
- On small dried toasts (crostini) spread some of the olive tapenade. About 3-4 per plate.
- Peel and slice the melon and arrange on each plate.
- Add slices of speck and mozzarella to each plate.
- Garnish each plate with caper berries, tomatoes, arugula leaves and dress (like a vinaigrette) each dish with the pesto.
- Serve with some fresh, crusty bread and enjoy.