Essential Pepin: Composed salad of greens, goat cheese and caramelized pecans

Composed Salad of Greens, Goat Cheese, and Caramelized Pecans Jacques Pepin recipeYup, the sun sets early here in Toronto now we are back to winter time. And so begins the 5 months of a very narrow window on the weekends in which to take photos for my blog. Sigh.  In any case, we can hardly complain since the temperature this past weekend was gorgeous – blue skies and sun and not too cold. Time for one last salad before settling in for comfort food for the next few months…

What better way to say goodbye to the sun than with a salad by Jacques Pépin?  More specifically, a Composed Salad of Greens, Goat Cheese, and Caramelized Pecans.  To celebrate the release of Jacques Pépin’s new cookbook, Essential Pépin, Thomas Allen are challenging Canadian home chefs and bloggers to cook up their own French meals with recipes from the book with the chance to win a KitchenAid® Artisan Series Stand Mixer, courtesy of KitchenAid® Canada!

In his more than sixty years as a chef, Jacques Pépin has earned a reputation as a champion of simplicity. His recipes are classics. They find the shortest, surest route to flavour, avoiding complicated techniques. Now, in a book that celebrates his life in food, the world’s most famous cooking teacher winnows his favourite recipes from the thousands he has created, streamlining them even further.  Recipes include Onion Soup Lyonnaise-Style, which Jacques enjoyed as a young chef while bar-crawling in Paris; Linguine with Clam Sauce and Vegetables, a frequent dinner chez Jacques; Grilled Chicken with Tarragon Butter, which he makes indoors in winter and outdoors in summer; Five-Peppercorn Steak, his spin on a bistro classic; Mémé’s Apple Tart, which his mother made every day in her Lyon restaurant; and Warm Chocolate Fondue Soufflé, part cake, part pudding, part soufflé, and pure bliss.  Essential Pépin spans the many styles of Jacques’s cooking: homey country French, haute cuisine, fast food Jacques-style, and fresh contemporary American dishes. Many of the recipes are globally inspired, from Mexico, across Europe, or the Far East. This truly is the essential Pépin.

This salad is definitely simple – greens topped with apple slices, goat cheese and caramelized pecans, dressed with a very simple vinaigrette.  I added some dried cranberries for colour also.

Jacques Pepin Composed Salad of Greens, Goat Cheese, and Caramelized Pecans recipeI loved this, though I was a little heavy-handed with the lemon that the apples were soaked in (I guess to avoid them turning brown), adding a dash of this to the dressing, meaning it was a little off in terms of the acidity balance. But no matter. The sweet of the apple, the tart of the goat cheese and the slight spice from the chili caramelized pecans made this a delightful light lunch. It felt so luxurious eating this salad in the middle of the afternoon on a Sunday in November – definitely a lot of flavour for not much prep time. Pépin truly IS the master of simple dishes full of flavour.

Stay tuned for two more instalments of the Pépin menu over the next few weeks and read more about the contest on Facebook.

24 thoughts on “Essential Pepin: Composed salad of greens, goat cheese and caramelized pecans”

  1. Yes, a bit acidic with the overdose of lemon…but all-in-all a nice salad.

    Originally paired with a simple rose from the South of France…

  2. I’ve made this a ton of times, and everyone likes it, but I find that the nuts are so hard, that it makes the salad clumsy to eat. One time I chopped most of the nuts and mixed them with the goat cheese, using the whole pecans just for garnish. Maybe not quite as pretty, but delicious.

  3. Mardi knows that I think the term “exciting salad” to be an oxymoron. But, I have to say that this looked (and from the descriptions) sounded like something I’d not avoid. Neil, I’m not a huge fan of Rose (although I’ve had one or two that could make me change my mind)- thus, what white wine (Aussie if you can) might you recommend?

    • Ah, salads and all that acid – a severe challenge.

      Sparklers work well against the acid – a Taz bubbly like Jansz would do well. A nice cider (apple or pear) is another good match.

      Sticking to still wines, something off-dry might work – a Riesling or Viognier perhaps.

      Otherwise – and this is an admittedly odd match – I might try an Olorosso Sherry. It will pair nicely with the walnuts, but avoid the bracing fino as I think the effect would be too mouth-puckering.

  4. So weird I posted a very similar salad today but had not seen yours until now…I love salads like this so much and eat them pretty much every day this time of year 🙂

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