I would describe this salad as Alpine. When I lived in the French mountains many years ago my wife and I used to go to a little auberge (mountain restaurant), stay the night and eat wonderful food.

The owner was an ex-executive chef of Gleneagles hotel, so he knew how to cook. The place was rather romantically named the Gite de Lac du Gers (or “hostel by goat lake” – not so lovely in English) and was accessible by Land Rover by means of a terrifying mountain track.

When we finally arrived at this breath-taking spot, we ordered a bottle of rosé and the house special, a salade de bergère (shepherd’s salad).

Being the carnivore that I am I was sceptical to say the least, but I was blown away. Try this, you’ll never look back.

Salade de bergère

Serves 6 as a main course

  • 1 head frisée lettuce
  • 1 head oak leaf
  • 1 head radicchio
  • 12 slices thinly cut baguette
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 6 crottins (little goat’s cheeses) cut in half
  • 100g (4oz) wild mushrooms
  • 50g (2oz) butter
  • Dressing

    Salt and pepper
  • 12 slices prosciutto
  • 12 slices salami or chorizo
  • 12 slices bresaola

 

Wash the lettuces well and tear them into manageable pieces.

Rub the slices of baguette with garlic and pop half a crottin on each.

Heat a pan and drop in the mushrooms and butter – feel free to add the remains of the garlic to the pan as well.

Stick the baguette slices in the oven at 375ºF/190ºC/Gas Mark 5 for 10 mins.

Dress and season the salad and put a pile of leaves on each plate. T

oss in the mushrooms, then tear up the meat and drape it over the salad and add the croutons with their goaty topping.

Tuck in and savour the experience.