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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Celandine Salad with Salmon & Grapefruit Mustard Sauce

It's almost April and spring has arrived with alacrity, after two months of mercilessly cold, snowy weather. I semi-hibernated half of the winter, hence my rare posts :( Now, however, I am back. The revival of nature and the green and fabulous atmosphere at the farmers' market make my head buzz with ideas. Cooking is fun when you have so many choices, i.e. fresh veggies and herbs at hand.

This morning, as I was flicking though Mike's iphone, I found some old photos we took in France in August 2010 when we visited France: Bergerac, Dordogne, Aquitaine and Camargue. This last, I should add, is one of the most peaceful & beautiful places on earth. (If you click on the link, a page will pop up and it will bring up memories one of the most precious & beautiful holidays I have taken so far.) 

No matter how much I may sometimes mutter and grumble, France is an ideal location to spend at least a couple of days a year- just to soak up the scenery, enjoy French food down to the last morsel, sip some great wine, make the de rigeur visite aux caves, take some memorable snapshots and listen to Claude Challe: Best of Love CD while driving along winding roads. You've got to hand it to the French: they have turned tourism into a fine art. There are some serious lessons that we here in Romania could learn by taking a few notes while in France, if we are serious about tourism.  Nothing is left to its own devices, no stone is left unturned; any tiny village, site or place of historical, natural or cultural importance is to be 'discovered' - and the French will do their best to make sure you do!

I hate crowds (as I am sure the French do too). As a matter of fact, any time we visit France we try to avoid them, by going in the off-season (April-May and Sept-Oct are the best months), and by going deep to explore the real France.  Yes, despite the best efforts of their excellent tourism marketing machine, there are many hidden corners where you will only find...well, French people!  This is the France of the French - of the locals who live, eat, work, drink, have fun & buy their daily baguette from the nearby boulangerie and cheap but good wines in tens of litres from the local vineyard.

Here are some snapshots of Les Beaux de Provence and Monpazier, the latter a medieval village in the Dordogne region, listed as "one of the most beautiful villages in France"...and while you scroll down, I will have posted a beautiful salad a la francaise, which is very much my style.

Les Beaux de Provence

Vintage car in Monpazier

Les Beaux de Provence

Resting in Monpazier

Celandine Salad with Salmon & Grapefruit Mustard Sauce

Type of cuisine: French, low fat, healthy

for my love

Celandine is a wonderful herb that grows in spring and has "fleshy, dark green, heart-shaped leaves", as it is described in Wikipedia. In Romania we eat  its leaves which have a delicately sweet taste. 
I overdose on it each spring and never get tired of it. 
For lunch today, I played the French card with a little bit ne sais quoi.
Well, I do know, but I am just teasing! 

You will need a small bunch of celandine which you have to wash thoroughly (this is the most boring part!), then peel & skin a grapefruit, chef-style. Squeeze a thick slice to make a small cup of fresh juice and keep aside. In the meantime, make the creamy mustard sauce
Mix the grapefruit juice with a teaspoon of Dijon mustard, add a measure of extra virgin olive oil, single cream (or yoghurt), mustard seeds and a pinch of herbes de Provence (or similar).

Place the drained celandine on a plate, with the filet of smoked salmon and the slices of grapefruit. Drizzle the sauce on top and sprinkle some mustard seeds carefully - otherwise, they'll bounce off the plate.

 I am certain you will fall in love with this French-bistro spring salad, so make the most of this beautiful season & maybe even plan your summer holidays accordingly :)

xoxo Yolanda


  1. You are right! I will make this salad this week and substitute baby arugula or purslane (which is abundant here) for this darling herb celandine.
    I love France too, feel sorry sometimes I left it after 3 years there because there is so much to see in France, as you say, every village is waiting to be discovered. Never visited Camargue, hope I can soon.

  2. Camargue is sauvage- you can see flamingoes, white horses, Camargue bulls in their natural habitat, you can go bird watching, fishing, eat moules on the sea shore, it's amazing. It has a vibrant, vintage, 1960s air about it and the best part is that it's relatively unknown. I totally fell in love with the place and I will certainly go back whenever I visit France again. Love xx

  3. de-ai sti cat de mult iubesc salata aceasta ... mmmmmm delicioasaaaaa
    te pup draga mea

  4. Nice blog. If you love things French you might like to look at my post on the MS Paul Gaugin which cruises around Tahiti.