I spent a little time this summer visiting Institut Henri Poincare for their program on rational points, but this post is not about the math I did there, but about a salad I ate there. Not there at IHP, but at the terrific neighborhood bistro around the corner from where I was staying. I liked it so much I went there three times and I got this salad three times. I have been trying to recreate it at home. It’s good! Not Paris bistro good. But really good. Here is how I make it so I don’t forget.
- Seedless watermelon cut in cubical or oblong chunks, as sweet as possible
- Good chevre (not feta, chevre) ripped up into modest pieces
- Some kind of not-too-bitter greens (I’ve been using arugula, they used some kind of micro watercressy kind of deal) Not a ton; this is a watermelon salad with some greens in it for color and accent, not a green salad.
- Roasted pine nuts (I am thinking this could also be good with roasted pepitas but have not tried it)
- Juice of a lime
- Olive oil, the best you have
- Piment d’espelette
I had never heard of piment d’espelette! It’s from the Basque part of France and is roughly in the paprika family but it’s different. I went to a spice store before I left Paris and bought a jar to bring home. So now I have something I thought my kitchen would never be able to boast: a spice Penzey’s doesn’t sell.
Anyway, the recipe is: put all that stuff in a bowl and mix it up. Or ideally put everything except the chevre in and mix it up and then strew the chevre on the top. Festive!
Of course the concept of watermelon and goat cheese as a summer salad is standard; but this is a lot better than any version of this I’ve had before.