Carolyne Kauser-AbbottProvencal RecipesSaladTaste

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.

Culinary Services:

Chef at home (chef à domicile)
Catering (traiteur)
Cooking classes (on location in Nimes)
Market tours
Wine tasting

My Provençal Salade Recipe Chef Anne Challier

My Provençal Salad

This salad plate is a cross between carpaccio and salad. Prepare the tapenade and pesto in advance. Shop for the fresh melon, lettuce leaves and tomatoes at the market in the morning and then plate the ingredients in time for lunch.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine French, Provencal
Servings 4 people


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.


The tapenade and pesto can be made in advance, so all you have to do is cut the melon, tomatoes and plate the salad.
Bonus tip: you can make tapenade rolls by spreading the tapenade on puff pastry. Roll into a long cylinder shape (like a rolling pin). Cut into slices and bake in hot oven (200°C - 400°F) for about 10 minutes.
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Carolyne Kauser-Abbott

With her camera and laptop close at hand, Carolyne has traded in her business suits for the world of freelance writing and blogging. Her first airplane ride at six months of age was her introduction to the exciting world of travel.

While in Provence, Carolyne can be found hiking with friends, riding the hills around the Alpilles or tackling Mont Ventoux. Her attachment to the region resonates in Perfectly Provence this digital magazine that she launched in 2014. This website is an opportunity to explore the best of the Mediterranean lifestyle (food & wine, places to stay, expat stories, books on the region, travel tips, real estate tips and more), through our contributors' articles.

Carolyne writes a food and travel blog Ginger and Nutmeg. Carolyne’s freelance articles can be found in Global Living Magazine, Avenue Magazine and City Palate (Published Travel Articles).

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