Salade d’Antibes

July 18, 2009

Salad freshens without enfeebling and fortifies without irritating.
~Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

Nestled between Nice and Cannes, Antibes was an ancient Greek fortified town named Antipolis (possibly meaning “opposite the point of Nice”) which later blossomed into a Roman town…always an active port for trading along the Mediterranean. The Greeks had a tenuous grip on the coast, with threatening Ligurian tribes crowded around the outskirts, and galleons and galleys moored in the sheltered waters.

In the late 5th century, when the Roman empire fell, barbarians invaded the region with Vandals, Visigoths, Burgundians, Ostrogoths and Franks all having their turn at pillage and plunder. In medieval times, Antibes was ruled by the Lords of Grasse, and later by the Bishops of Antibes. By the end of the 14th century, Antibes was on the Franco-Savoyard frontier, and in 1383, the Pope of Avignon bequeathed Antibes to the Grimaldi family of Cagnes.

Home to the inspiring Picasso Museum, the natural beauty of Antibes has been retained in the vieille ville (old town), with ramparts along the sea and the long, arched protective wall traversing the port.

On the west end of Antibes is Cap d’Antibes and the enchanted La Baie de La Garoupe with quaint restaurants rimming golden beaches overlooking the tranquil and ever shimmering Meditteranean—replete with the sheen of oleaginous semi clad bodies. Several years ago, on a warm sunny day there, I shared a cold salad at a pastel umbrella’d restaurant which has always captured my memory. Below is a humble attempt to replicate.

SALADE D’ANTIBES—CANTALOUPE, CORN, ET AL.

1 ripe cantaloupe, seeded, peeled and diced
2-3 ears fresh corn, shucked and cleaned
1 C serrano ham, diced
1 red pepper, stemmed, seeded and diced
2 poblano peppers, stemmed, seeded and diced
1 medium red onion, peeled, and diced
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced

1/3 C fresh mint leaves, chopped
1/3 C fresh cilantro, chopped

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

The cantaloupe, serrano ham, peppers, onion and tomatoes should be diced in fairly small cubes of fairly uniform size and in somewhat similar quantities.

In a large pot of boiling water, cook the corn for 1 minute. Briefly drain and immerse corn in ice water to stop the cooking and to set the color. Promptly remove and dry well. When the corn is cool, cut the kernels off the cob.

Combine corn kernels with cantaloupe, ham, peppers, onion, tomatoes mint and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper lightly.

3 garlic cloves
1 1/2 T dijon mustard
1 t sea salt
1 t freshly ground pepper
1/4 C apple cider vinegar
1 C olive oil

Pound the garlic to a paste with a pinch of salt with a mortar and pestle or smash with the side of a large chef knife with salt. In a bowl, combine the garlic, mustard, vinegar, a pinch of salt and a grinding of black pepper. Vigorously whisk in the olive oil in a narrow stream until it emulsifies, remove garlic, and adjust seasoning to your liking.

Toss vegetable mixture well with vinaigrette, let it rest for several hours in the refrigerator, and then serve.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: