Garden Salad with Salmon Caviar Croutons

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I have developed many variants of the garden salad over the years. This version, without the croutons, is the basic one, using whatever greens, flowers, and herbs you have in a garden or find in whatever market you use. You can do the same thing with just one green, as in a watercress and walnut oil salad with grilled bread, or a rocket salad with grilled herb brioche; or you can roll goat cheese rounds in bread crumbs, sauté them for a few seconds, put in a 375-degree oven for five minutes, and place them at the center of this salad, with olive puree on the croutons.

Ingredients

  • 1 small head curly endive
  • 4 small red leaf lettuces
  • 4 small green leaf lettuces
  • 1 bunch watercress
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 pinches freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ cup walnut or hazelnut oil
  • ¼ cup virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chervil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon leaves
  • 16 fresh rose petals
  • 16 nasturtium flowers
  • 1 tablespoon calendula petals
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage flowers
  • ½ cup fresh salmon or steelhead roe
  • 12 croutons

Method

Pick over the greens, removing any stems and blackened leaves. Use only the inside tender leaves of the endive. Wash and spin dry the leaves. Keep cold in the refrigerator.

Mix the lemon juice with salt and pepper to taste in a bowl large enough to hold all the greens. Whisk in the oils.

Put the greens and herbs in the bowl. Toss together thoroughly but gently and put the salad on cold plates. Put the flower petals throughout the salads. Spread the roe on the croutons and put 3 on each plate. Pass the salt and pepper mill separately.

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