Thursday, August 20, 2009

Julia Child's Salade a la D'Argenson

Finding myself with some nice leftover rice and a big basket of fresh beets, I decided it was the perfect time to try Julia Child's Salade a la D'Argenson, or Rice and Beet Salad. This salad can also be made with warm potatoes, but I think it is a great way to use up rice. The beets make for a brilliant pinky-red colour, and I pressed the salad in a baking mould for a charming presentation. Ok, I know it looks just a little bit like a giant hamburger in the pictures, but it was very tasty indeed.
I chose to use the canned tuna and shredded carrots for the additions, and tarragon in my Mayonnaise aux Fines Herbes . Don't be tempted to use only your finest olive oil in the mayo, it will be too strong. Mix it with a more neutral yet high quality oil. The food processor method turned out perfectly for me. Thanks Julia!
Salade a la D'Argenson
Rice or Potato and Beet Salad
Julia Child, Mastering the Art of French Cooking

When rice or potatoes are marinated with beets in a vinaigrette for a sufficient amount of time, the whole mass becomes beet-coloured. Then it can be tossed in an herbal mayonnaise, and all sorts of cooked vegetables, meat, or fish leftovers can be mixed in to it to make a nourishing hors d'oeuvre, a main course dish, or an attractive addition to a picnic.

2 cups boiled rice OR 2 cups of warm boiled potatoes, peeled and diced
2 cups diced cooked or canned beets (I roasted mine whole and then peeled and large diced them)
4 tbsp minced shallots or green onions (I used shallots)
A 2 quart bowl
3/4 cup vinaigrette* see below for recipe
1 1/2 to 2 cups mayonnaise with green herbs** see below for recipe
Salt and pepper
1 cup, one or a mixture of the following: Cooked green peas, or cooked and diced green beans, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, turnips, or asparagus; diced cooked beef, pork, poultry, or fish; flaked canned tuna or salmon; diced raw apples; grated raw carrots; walnuts
A salad bowl
Decorate with any or all of the following: Green or black olives, anchovies, sliced hard-boiled eggs, water cress or parsley sprigs.

Toss the rice or potatoes, beets, and shallots or onions in a bowl with the vinaigrette. Season to taste. Cover, and refrigerate for at least 12, preferably 24 hours.
Shortly before serving, fold in the mayonnaise and other ingredients. Season carefully. Arrange the salad in the bowl and decorate with the suggestions listed.
Sauce Vinaigrette - makes about 1/2 cup, so multiply for the above recipe.
1/2 to 2 tbsp good wine vinegar or a mixture of vinegar and lemon juice
1/8 tsp salt
Optional: 1/4 tsp dry mustard
6 tbsp salad oil or olive oil
Big pinch of pepper
Optional: 1 to 2 tbsp minced green herbs, such as parsley, chives, tarragon, basil; or a pinch of dried herbs.

Either beat the vinegar or lemon juice in a bowl with the salt and optional mustard until the salt is dissolved, then beat in the oil by droplets, and season with pepper, or place all ingredients in a screw-top jar and shake vigorously for 30 seconds to blend thoroughly.
Stir in the optional herbs and correct seasoning just before dressing the salad.

Mayonnaise - food processor method (you will have leftovers)

1 egg and 2 yolks
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp salt
Fresh lemon juice and/or wine vinegar
2 cups best quality oil
More salt, pepper, and lemon juice or vinegar as needed

Process the egg and yolks for 1 minute.
With the machine running, add the mustard, salt, and 1 tsp of lemon juice or vinegar.
With the machine still running, start adding the oil in a stream of droplets, continuing until you have used half the oil and the sauce is very thick - do not stop processing until sauce has thickened. Thin out with lemon juice or vinegar, then continue with the oil. Season carefully with more salt, pepper, and lemon juice or vinegar.

For Mayonnaise aux Fines Herbes - stir in 3 to 4 tbsp minced green herbs, such as tarragon, basil, chervil, chives, parsley, or oregano to 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise.