Tarragon Salad with Blue Cheese à la Goldmarie, Munich

This week’s blog features another easy yet tasty recipe. I consider this salad French, though I concocted the recipe after tasting a luscious salad with (mostly) the same components at a restaurant in Munich called Goldmarie. The complete recipe appears at the end of this post.

A bit about the restaurant’s name: I always wondered where “goldmarie” came from. Today I actually googled it and came up with a German fairy tale called Frau Holle. In the story there were two sisters. The beautiful, kind one’s name was Goldmarie, or Golden Mary. The ugly, lazy one’s name was Pechmarie, which means Bad Luck Mary. The plot itself smacks of Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel and a few other tales. If you’re interested in the whole story, click here.

At any rate, Goldmarie in Munich is a gourmet delight. The menu is never the same two weeks in a row. The chef obviously knows his/her stuff because everything is elevated from the ordinary and delicious. It’s not your Oma’s schnitzel.

So I ordered what they called a tarragon salad one day. What a delight! It’s that salad I more-or-less recreated recently. The star of the salad was not tarragon, although that played a major role. The star was the triangle of blue cheese atop the greens. Now, I don’t even like blue cheese that much, but this was buttery, creamy and oh-so-divine.

I asked the waitress to ask the kitchen what kind of cheese it was. The answer I got: Schimmelkaese. It means “blue cheese” in English. Really. In fact, the first part of the word, Schimmel means “mold” in German, as in the kind of mold you try in vain to remove from bathroom tiles. No help there, so I took it upon myself in subsequent weeks to try likely-looking blue cheeses from the gourmet supermarket in Munich.

I was lucky and got it on the second or third sample. The blue cheese I now use and am completely enthralled with is St. Agur. St. Agur is made in France and has only been produced since 1988 by the Bongrain company in the Auvergne region. It’s really popular and wins many awards.

No wonder it’s so creamy; it has 60% butterfat! Think mascarpone with blue veins. Oh my goodness, you have got to try it. Fortunately it’s available at Whole Foods in the States and probably most specialty cheese shops. It’s good for melting in recipes and also for spreading on toast or crackers.

Aside from tarragon, the major green in the salad is frisee lettuce, another ingredient popular in France. You can see why I consider this salad French. Frisee is related to endive/chicory and has very thin, delicate, curly leaves. As it grows, it is gathered up and bound with a rubber band so that the inner, newer leaves are a pale yellow while the outer ones stay green. This produces its signature two-tone appearance.

Anyway, here is what my salad looked like, with chilled pear slices, chopped walnuts and sprouts on top. You can see the St. Agur peeking out from under the sprouts with the frisee underneath.

The other Test Chicken and I prepared a wonderful  boeuf en croute/beef Wellington meal recently, and my tarragon salad was first course. We’ll be squawking about the details later this month on the America’s Test Chicken website. Here’s a sneak preview:

And here’s your recipe:

Print Recipe
Salad, Tarragon with Blue Cheese and Pears Recipe
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine French
Prep Time 15 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine French
Prep Time 15 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Wash and dry the frisee, tarragon and pear.
  2. Gently separate 4 equal portions of frisee from the head and place in 4 individual serving bowls.
  3. Remove 10 to 12 tarragon leaves from stem and arrange on top of each serving of frisee.
  4. Whisk honey, vinegar and oil together for dressing. Drizzle about 2 teaspoons of it over each salad.
  5. Slice the St. Agur into four quarter-inch slices. Place one slice on top of each salad.
  6. Thinly slice the pear and arrange 1/4 of it around each bowl.
  7. Toast the nuts in a dry skillet. Chop and sprinkle about 2 teaspoons of them over each salad.
  8. Top each bowl with a small handful of sprouts. Serve chilled.
Recipe Notes

Substitute any sort of fancy lettuce for the frisee; cut broad leaves into thin slices.

St. Agur is really the best cheese to use for this; however, any buttery, double-cream blue cheese will do nicely as well. Do not use overly tangy, drier blue cheese.

This salad is perfect for a rich protein such as steak or lobster.

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