Niçoise. Cobb. Those are the only composed salads I can think of, but take a look at the bones of these (very good) classics and you’ll see a structure that guides us to big, fun salads made of whatever our whim inspires. Certainly the word “composed” doesn’t illicit a rollicking good time. Or room for personal expression—much beyond crossed legs, really—but when it comes to “salade composée,” let’s get past the stuffy name for just a second.
By definition, composed salads have lots of ingredients, in neat or meandering rows—the kind of rainbow of textures and flavors that’s timeless (ahem). They splay on platters (you don’t even have to toss!) to bring to your table of impressed guests, or for yourself so you can poke around with your fingers for your favorite bites.
To make a composed salad a chorus instead of chaos, you’ll need to follow this (loose! imperfect!) formula. Nose-dive into your fridge to find an ingredient that fits each of these categories—there might an ingredient that fits two categories, and that's okay. Then, think about whether you’d like to eat the ingredients together. If the answer is yes—some people might be okay with cheese and bananas together?—line 'em up, add your favorite dressing, and go for it.
La Baleine sea salt certainly has a history—it’s been around since 1856—and we’ve been stocking it in our own kitchens for years, too. It's a pure sea salt originating from the French Mediterranean and Brittany, and comes in several styles, from coarse to sel gris. See them all here.
For more on French food (sans white tablecloth), head here.