Monday, 22 August 2011

Mesclun mix salad with blue cheese and blueberries

'Bluettes' (=blueberries)
That's a nice word to learn.
Even Maddalena picked it up immediately.
It's amongst the bunch of words that make up her French vocabulary up to now, together with 'sac à dos' and 'bibliotheque' (the library being one of the places we visit regularly).

Besides, blueberries are in season here in Quebec, which isn't hard to notice.
You just have to take a quick walk in Jean Talon marketplace here in Montreal and you'll find blueberries stalls in every corner.

We headed to this popular marketplace a few days ago.
Blueberries immediately captured my attention: their colour so vibrant and their flavour so sweet here (compared to the less savoury ones you can find in Italy) that we simply had to buy some, a small basket at least.(I'd rather buy a small quantity of fresh blueberries and consume them in two or three days, since they are extremely perishable...)

The idea of adding them to a salad didn't occur to me until we reached a stall selling the freshest selection of greens and fine herbs of the market (and the most expensive too, I later discovered): argula (rocket as it seems), argula sprouts, watercress, baby spinach and mesclun mix amongst the others, and edible flowers too – like wild pansies. 

I thought that 'mesclun mix' was the equivalent of Italian 'misticanza' (a salad 'mix' - as the word suggests - of baby green leaves ), but after tasting it I had to admit I was wrong and that the combination of tender green leaves must be different in the two countries.
Nonetheless I really liked it and decided to combine mesclun mix and blueberries with some blue cheese, just to see how their flavours matched together.

I served the salad with a rather simple dressing – olive oil, salt and pepper – but I am sure it would be sensational with balsamic vinegar (which unfortunately we didn't have close at hand).

I really enjoyed it and, to my surprise, even my husband R. – who despite being a radical in politics, is a rather conservative guy as far as eating habits are concerned – gave me a thumb up.

Needless to say, M. didn't even taste it, just the smell of blue cheese made her wince...

p.s. We bought blue cheese at 'La fromagerie Hamel' a cheesemonger's and deli shop which is absolutely worth a visit, if you happen to be at Jean Talon marketplace.

Ingredients (serves 4):

mesclun mix: 1 small bunch
alfa alfa sprouts: 1/2 cup
blue cheese: ½ cup
blueberries: 1 cup
walnuts halves: 12

for the dressing:

extra virgin olive oil: 4 tablespoons
balsamic vinegar (optional): 1 tablespoon
salt: 1 pinch
pepper: 1/2 pinch

Whisk together oil, salt, ground pepper and balsamic vinegar.
Combine mesclun mix, alfa alfa sprouts and walnuts in a separate bowl then toss with dressing. Delicately stir in 3/4 blueberries. Serve the salad in four individual plates, adding scrambled blue cheese on top and garnishing with remaining blueberries (¼).

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