Salad Days

With the warm weather approaching, salads are the best lunch time options next to sashimi, of course.

I ambled along the Avenue Kleber, window shopped at Gap and then turned right and headed into Carette for a quick lunch.  It was a lovely afternoon and I had the company of Daddy Dave.  He is part of the family being SS’s father and the ex-husband. ‘Huh!’ I hear you say, ‘she’s still talking to the ex?’  Mais oui, pourquoi pas?  It’s all water under the bridge and I’ve let sleeping dogs lie.  Better to ‘make love than war’ so to speak, not literally, of course now that the Italian is my better half.  It’s great for SS to see that the ex and I are on talking terms and wonderful for RN to have someone to call ‘Daddy Dave’.  I’ve got it sorted and covered, I’d like to think! 🙂

I wanted to show Daddy Dave a rather typical French salon de thé where the chic people of the seizième lunch and people watch on the Trocadéro before heading to collect RN in the afternoon.  Well, in reality, I am more the people watcher and he the computer geek person.  He solves all our computer problems and is a great source of information on anything technological.  We have become dependent on him for all our techy problems.  I just hope that he has passed this genetic genius onto SS.

Carette was first opened in 1923 and decorated in the Art Deco style by Hubert de Givenchy, nephew of the Givenchy label.  It is an opulent salon de thé with an extensive salad menu, a variety of macarons and gâteux.  They also serve sandwiches (check out their finger sandwiches) and of course, tea and coffee. What I like best about Carette is that they serve a mean Café Glacé.  I love my iced coffee especially in the summer months.  I love it just as it is – black. I like the bitter after taste of black coffee, diluted by the ice cubes so that the bitterness does not linger like in an expresso.  (Yes, I drink my expressos straight with no sugar but in my old age, I seem to like them better a little sweetened). Iced coffees in Asia are served accompanied by a jug of sugar syrup.  But in Paris, I seem to only get a bottle of sugar whenever I order one. And having said that, it is really faux pas to order iced coffees anyway unless they are listed in the menu. C’est trés Americaine, is what the French think.  Since I don’t take sugar in my coffee, I wouldn’t know the difficulty of having to dissolve the sugar in an icy drink.  But I can imagine that it mustn’t be an easy feat.  Maybe, that’s one way to discourage les étrangers to be less American?  Je ne sais pas.

I scanned the list of salads on offer and decided on this one:

Carette's Salade Niçoise - not called that by the Café. See if you can find it in their menu.

I liked the mélange of the cantaloupe and water melon, both juicy and sucré in my mouth. I love it that the salad came with a variety of légumes, like green beans/french beans otherwise known as haricots verts, shredded carrots and new potatoes. The anchovies married well with the fruit, creating bursts of sweet and salty juices in my mouth. I love anchovies, especially these ones you see here in the salad.  These are marinaded in vinegar and olive oil.   Totally yummms!

This is Carette’s take on the Niçoise, I felt, with the tuna and anchovies mixed in with the salad leaves.

Daddy Dave ordered the Caésar (pronounced Say-zar).  C’est trés important how you pronounce this name.  Spoken with an English accent like that of Daddy Dave’s, you risk the French waitress not understanding you.  Comment?  So, in order to save the ex-husband from having to utter the word Caesar again, I just chipped in Say-zar – et voilâ:

The Say-zar

The chicken breasts were breaded and pan fried leaving the meat moist and soft. I really liked it.  I can’t seem to cook my chicken breasts just right to avoid it being chewy and tough.  Any tips, kawan kawan?

Do taste the sun blushed tomatoes if you ever order this salad.  It was totally yumalicious that I made Daddy Dave give me two of his.  He doesn’t mind sharing, so that worked out well in my favour.

Inspired by the choices of salads that I’d seen on Carette’s menu, I promptly decided to make one of my own.  I had a tin of tuna lying in the cantina, an ante-room attached to my kitchen where I store all my dry goods, bottles of wine and sauces.  Together with a tin of corn I found, I created this:

Tuna Salad à la casa

I had some lamb’s lettuce (mâche) in the fridge and half a cucumber which I diced and promptly threw into the salad.  For a little bit of ‘kick’, I added shallots (eshallots) which I had sliced very thinly.  Alternatively, spring onions/scallions work very well too.  I dressed this salad elegantly with a vinaigrette of olive oil, minced garlic, soya sauce and a drizzle of sesame, all whipped up to give the ingredients a good mix before tossing my leaves in it.

The girls ate the salad with relish and so did the Italian.  I was a happy bunny that evening!

Try it, kawan kawan, it’s really easy to concoct.  By the way, when you’re next in Trocadéro, don’t forget to stop by Carette, Paris 4 Place du Trocadéro 75016, Tél 01 47 27 98 85.  They also have a branch at the Place des Vosges 25, Place des Vosges 75003 Tél 01 48 87 94 07


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