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  • Writer's pictureCoco

Parisian Life, Bistro Style

Updated: May 26, 2018

As you walk the streets of Paris at lunch time, you pass by a bistro, a brasserie, a café, and you get a whiff of the plat du jour. You follow the wonderful aroma that has just triggered your appetite, and you sit at a table. If there happens to be the Bistro Salad on the menu and even though your mind is set on the plat du jour, do not miss your opportunity to have a bite of that bistro salad – You will not be disappointed. Three ingredients and one good, emulsified, home-made vinaigrette. That’s all you need for this Parisian bistro classic if you want to fix it at home. The fresh, vine-ripe tomatoes, the hard-boiled eggs, and the red onion work magically together. This salad was a hit when I had my restaurant – as a side dish or a full salad, my guests always wanted more.

First, the tomatoes Depending on where you live and the time of the year, try to get them from your local farmers. The stem will be aromatic and the fruit will be intense. Grab them while they are available. You will miss them when they are not. By the way, did you know that tomatoes come from the Andes mountains and were brought to Europe by the Spanish in the early part of the 16th century? Small, red or yellow, the size of a cherry tomato, no one in Europe believed that this fruit was edible. It was pretty, and it was used as a decorating item, in flower arrangements in palaces for example, but it was said to be poisonous. Sooner or later, the tomato fortunately gained popularity and became part of the Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Southern French diets.

Then the eggs Different chickens, different eggs, different sizes, different colors… The color of the shell is genetic, and different chickens lay eggs of different colors. The color does not affect the taste or the nutritive value. Also, the yellow color of the yolk can be more or less intense depending on what the chicken is fed. The thickness of the shell also is genetic, but only partially so. Generally speaking, chickens that lay eggs with a thin shell tend to lay more eggs. In the same way, chickens that lay white eggs are more prolific than chickens that lay brown eggs. No wonder most of our store-bought eggs are white.

Finally, the onions You may have caught me say once or twice that the French do not eat raw onions in general… That is true, I did say that; but in this particular salad, the onions marinate in the vinaigrette, and the longer they marinate, the more “digestible” (sic – to quote the French) they are… As a result, no need to chew on a coffee bean or cardamom beforehand to make those raw onions more “digestible”!!! If they are marinated in vinaigrette, you should be fine… We have a few too many rules over there when it comes to cooking and eating. But that is another topic for another day. Today, I encourage you to try this Bistro Salad.

But wait! You are missing the component that makes the magic happen: the emulsified home-made vinaigrette. There is more to see than to say about the emulsified vinaigrette. It is the key, the base, the requisite and the prerequisite, the indispensable, the critical and ultimate final touch to many salads, including this one for sure, and it MUST be good. In other words, it cannot be store-bought.

Look for my bistro salad in the “Cook with Coco” section, or just click on the following link:

Merci, et bon appetit!

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