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Catherine de' Medici Salad

Insalata Catherine de' Medici

Catherine de' Medici Salad from A Villa in Tuscany by Sharon O'Connor

From A Villa in Tuscany by Sharon O'Connor

One of the cleverest and most influential women in culinary history. Catherine de' Medici was a neice of Lorenzo the Magnificent a queen of France, and mother of three Frrench kings. She introduced the French court to Italian cooking, gracious table settings and dining, and the division of savory and sweet dishes at a time when sweets were still eaten with meat and fish in many countries of medieval Europe.

  • 8 handfuls (5 ounces) baby salad greens
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • One 4-ounce chunk Parmesean cheese, freshly shaved (see CooksTips)
  • 1/3 cup walnut halves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tabelspoons capers, rinsed
  • 6 anchovy fillets, rinsed boned, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (see Cook's Tips)
  • 2 tomatoes, each cut into 4 wedges
  • 1 1/2 tabelspoons walnut oil
  • 1 tablespoon tarragon vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • Salt to taste

In a medium bowl, sprinkle the salad greens with the salt and toss until combined. Arrange the salad greens on 4 plates. Place the shaved Parmesean pieces around the lettuce. Add the walnuts, capers, and anchovy fillets on top of the lettuce. Place a slice of tomato between each Parmesean cheese slice.

To make the dressing: In a medium bowl, whisk toegether the walnut oil, tarragon vinegar, white wine vinegar, water and olive oil. Stir the shallots and tarragon.

In a small saucepan, heat the dressing over medium heat until simmering; remove from heat. Add the butter and stir until melted. Season with salt, if necessary.

Drizzle each salad with about 3 tablespoons of the dressing, adding more in the center and less on the outer border.
Make 4 servings

Cook's Tips
Real Parmesean cheese, or Parmigiano-Reggiano, is undeniably one of the world's great cheeses. Use a vegetable peeler on room-temperature cheese to shave it paper thin. To use salt-packed anchovies, rinse them gently in cold water. Peel off the fillet from one side and then remove the backbone and taill from the other fillet. Rinse again. The skin is edible and rarely worth the trouble to remove.