1/2 cup blackberries
8-10 slices of pancetta (preferably coils)
3-4 oz smooth chevre (goat cheese)
handful toasted sliced almonds
3 cups mache / spinach
1/2 cup blackberries
fresh cracked pepper, salt
good olive oil
time: 10-15 minutes active
you will need:
blackberry, chevre, pancetta and mache salad
I used to live (in abject poverty) in Paris, and there was a bar behind the Hôtel de Ville where we would drink red wine and devour a salad of sweet mache, tangy chevre and hot, plump little lardons of bacon.
Whenever I use those three ingredients, I am back sitting by the Seine and listening to Edith Piaf.
This tangy blackberry vinaigrette is a perfect addition to these sensational ingredients.
Place the coils of pancetta in a skillet, turn on the heat and watch as the coils transform into smoky little rosettes. Remove to a paper lined plate.
Place the mache or spinach into your salad bowl, crumble the chevre into little nuggets on top of the leaves. Add the berries and pancetta coils.
I choose a smooth, rather than a super-tangy goat cheese for this salad.
Make the vinaigrette by placing a seive over a bowl or jug. Squeeze the 1/2 cup blackberries over the seive and let the juice run into the bowl. Add an equal amount of lemon juice...by now you probably have a 1/4 cup of liquid. Add an equal measure of very good olive oil. I use a tangerine infused olive oil...any citrus infused oil would be great. If you haven't got one, grate a little orange zest into the bowl.
Add a pinch of salt, whisk it all together and then give it a taste; I do this by dunking some baguette into the vinaigrette. The tartness of the berries or lemon may vary, so you might consider adding a little sugar. Season with freshly cracked pepper and then whisk again. Pour over the salad and finish it all by scattering some toasted, sliced almonds on top. You could also use toasted pine nuts, but I don't actually care for them.
Add some fresh baguette, open a bottle of red, pop on a beret...c'est si bon!
For a treat, you could grill the chevre on top of some rounds of baguette before adding it to the salad!