And what is a Salade Composée anyway? It is basically a salad where the ingredients are presented artfully and separately rather than tossed and dressed in a bowl.
A salade composée can be a nice presentation to make a salad fancier. It can also be nice to keep the ingredients distinct from one another, such as in a Cobb salad where you may want to choose the order you consume them in.
This is going to be my new favourite way to serve salad when I’m feeling fancy….
And the reason it is easy? Instead of fussing with special moulds or rings you can use a cucumber strip to corral your ingredients!
I was so excited when this work out so nicely! I used a vegetable peeler to cut a thin, pliable strip of cucumber and wound it into a 3 inch circle. The cucumber ws actually pretty good at holding together just by sticking to itself but you will be much safer if you run a bamboo skewer through it at the end. You might get away with it if you assemble the salad on the plate you plan to serve it on. But it is essential if you will need to move the salad from a platter to the serving plate.
I chose a base of finely shredded romaine lettuce, omitting the tough spine pieces. Then I put a layer of canned peas, topped with very thinly sliced raw mushroom. The bulk of the salad and the dressing was hardboiled eggs chopped fine and ‘creamed’ with Boursin cheese and a bit of mayonnaise to thin the Boursin.
I pressed each layer down lightly until the egg salad layer reached the top of the cucumber collar. Let it sit for 2-4 hours (or overnight will work) for the flavours to meld. Then you can have fun with garnishes when you plate it to serve.
I made some cucumber ‘petals’ with more thin, thin, thin cucumber rounds, some grape tomato halves, a hint of cilantro and a fun splash or Mustard Caviar.
New to mustard caviar? It is mustard seeds soaked in wine vinegar, or pickle juice for 5 days. Then you can sprinkle the seeds and some of the juice as a garnish for a slightly spicy hint. The texture may be the most fun part – you actually get a little burst of flavour much like you do with real caviar.
Obviously you can choose whatever layers or garnishes suit your tastes. Parsley, a bit of pickle- you get the picture. Don’t have mushrooms on hand? Substitute some finely chopped sweet pepper or green onion.
I get bamboo skewers from the Dollar Store so if you think this will become your new salad presentation – you might want to invest in a package!
Your guests will need to slice in to the salad on their plate to release all the ingredients.
Easy Salade Composée
- Bamboo skewers 4-6" long
- 1 English cucumber about 10" long
- 1 cup romaine lettuce finely shredded
- 1/2 cup canned sweet peas drained
- 2 large mushroom caps
- 2 large hard boiled eggs chilled and peeled
- 35 grams Boursin Cheese- Fine Herbs abot 1/4 of the package
- 1 Tbsp mayonnaise
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 6 grape tomatoes
- mustard caviar can substitute some chopped sweet or dill pickle with a bit of pickle juice
- parsely or other fresh herb for garnish
- Trim the narrow ends off the cucumber. Cut 8 very thin rounds from the end of the cucumber if you plan to garnish with more cucumber slices.
- Cut the cucumber vertically down the center. Using a mandarin or vegetable peeler cut 4 thin strips of cucumber the full length of the cucumber. If you are using a vegetable peeler lay the cucumber on the counter, flat side up and draw the vegetable peeler evenly from one end of the cucumber to the other.
- Form a 2 1/2 – 3" circle with the cucumber strip overlapping any excess of the strip. (If you assemble the salad on the plate you plant to serve it on it will work best. If not, have a wide spatula on hand that is broader than your cucumber circle so you don't lose ingredients when transferring the salad to the plate.)
- Gently place about 3-4 Tbsps of the shredded lettuce as the base of the salad. Top with 1-2 Tbsps small sweet peas.
- Clean and slice the mushroom caps as thinly as possible and cover the pea layer, overlapping the slices.
- Mash the hard boiled eggs with a fork. Add the Boursin cheese and the mayonnaise and mix until smooth. Top the mushroom layer with 1/4 of the egg salad.
- Insert a bamboo skewer in each cucumber round to secure it.
- Refrigerate 2-4 hours or up to overnight. When ready to serve, if moving the salad to a plate, ensure that you slide a spatula under each round that will completely cover the bottom so no ingredients spill out when transferring.
- Pinch cucumber rounds in the center to make a flower shape and press into the egg salad topping. Garnish plate with 1 1/2 grape tomatoes each, a teaspoon of mustard caviar or chopped pickle and a bit of fresh herb garnish.