Ladurée’s Concord Salad

Happy Saturday, dear reader! Are you having a good one? It’s nice and sunny where I’m from, and I can almost taste summer in the air.

It’s day 10 of the Ladurée Savory Challenge, which means we’re a third of the way in. Can you believe it? 10 days, only one small burn, and no emotional breakdowns. A win!

Today we turned the leaf to another chapter of the wonderful Ladurée Savory: Elegant Picnics. I love the name of this chapter, because of course a Ladurée picnic will be an elegant affair.

Is there a picnic version of glamping? Because that’s a Ladurée picnic. The chapter is filled with salads and sandwiches of various levels of intricacy; think more fine china and less blanket in the park.

To prove my point, our recipe of the day is Salade Concorde (Concord Salad), page 58. The name isn’t frighteningly long, but the plating.

Oh, the plating.

Ingredients

  • Cucumber
  • Tomatoes
  • Lemon
  • Mustard
  • Ketchup
  • Spinach
  • Smoked chicken breast
  • Crystal salt

Not pictured: balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Substitution and ingredient removal time! The recipe called for three types of mustard, but I just used Dijon because it’s strong enough that it absorbs the taste of everything else. Regarding the chicken, Ladurée said to use normal chicken breast, but I knew I’d never be able to cut it as thin as the picture on the book, so I went for pre-sliced deli meat.

Components

  • Chicken
  • Sauces
  • Salad

Directions

1. Chicken

Since I got rid of the fresh chicken, I had to do nothing to my pre-sliced smoked chicken breast. NEXT!

2. Sauces

This recipe has two sauces, none of which take a lot of time to make, both of which are kinda weird.

The first is a basic vinaigrette with a twist. Balsamic vinegar boiled and mixed with ketchup. Yeah, you read that right, dear reader, that’s a thing I had to make.

The second is a mix of lemon juice, salt, mustard and olive oil.

They both smelled revolting and neither showed up on camera.

3. Salad

The first and only easy part of this plating was peeling and slicing the cucumber lengthwise, and tossing the spinach with the mustard sauce, which I did, gagging only slightly.

Then I had to peel, quarter and seed the tomatoes. For this, Ladurée recommends that you toss the tomatoes in boiling water for 20 seconds, then drop them in ice water. It’s the single most complicated lazy kitchen tip; it’s not that hard to peel tomatoes, people, come on. The big tomatoes fell apart in my hands so I ended up using cherry tomatoes (non-boiled and non-iced, thank you very much).

Finally, plating arrived.

4. Plating

For this dish, Ladurée recommends that you get a circular 14 cm mold and line it with the cucumber slices, then garnishing the interior with the spinach, and decorating with the chicken and tomatoes. Sprinkle in a little vinaigrette and crystal salt. Once done, you’re supposed to remove the mold and have a beautiful salad construction.

Pardon my French, but bullshit.

Do I even need to state the obvious, dear reader? It was a disaster that wouldn’t stay up, and fell apart a good 3 times before I gave up and used a bowl.

Verdict

Let’s state the obvious, here, this isn’t picnic food. At all. It’s a fancy salad that is hard to plate inside, let alone anywhere further than a kitchen counter. Now that that’s settled let’s talk taste.

It’s not good. I knew as I was making the vinaigrette and sauce that it was going to be a weird mix, and I wasn’t disappointed. Maybe one alone on just salad, but all together…

Hard pass.

Level of difficulty: 7 out of 10, for the plating alone.

Level of yumminess: 2 out of 10.

Tomorrow

Another picnic recipe that will hopefully be better suited for the outdoors!

Community Question

What’s your favorite picnic food, dear reader?

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