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.
And here’s your recipe: