Chasing Cézanne Carrot & Corn Salad

August 31, 2011

Author Notes: The daughter and I sandwiched some time in Aix en Provence this summer in between Bologna and Paris. It's one of our very favorite places. It's also the birthplace of Paul Cézanne, a fact that is truly inescapable given the myriad of those round-cornered brass markers imbedded in sidewalks along the Cours Mirabeau and its environs. They tell you that you're following in his footsteps. They'll lead you to places of significance to him - his studio, his birthplace, shops selling cheesy reproductions.

Well, of a cool-ish Sunday afternoon, we decided to follow them to the house where he was born, as it was in a part of town we hadn't explored yet. Many businesses are wonderfully closed on Sunday, so the streets and sidewalks off the tourist paths were nearly empty, really a beautiful sensation. We followed, we turned corners, we went up a hill, and finally came to a lovely yellow building on which was mounted a plaque announcing that it was indeed his birthplace. Was it open to the public? Mais, non. Now it's a day care center.

Wandering back along our path, we stopped for lunch at a little place - pizzas and this stopped-us-in-our tracks salad. The very simple ingredients and their avocado vinaigrette took our breath away. I took out my journal and together we deconstructed it. After we returned home, the daughter called me to double-check the ingredients; it was the first thing she made. Fast and simple? Mais, oui. Great flavors and textures? Fantastiques!
boulangere

Serves: 2

Ingredients

  • 4 carrots, peeled
  • 1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen (thawed of course)
  • 1/2 red onion, fine dice
  • 2 ounces white wine vinegar
  • 4 ounces extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • Sea or kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
In This Recipe

Directions

  1. You can ribbon the carrots on a mandoline, but think rustic and simple works best sometimes, so I just use a peeler. Hold each peeled carrot at the halfway point lengthwise. Begin shaving off half-carrot-length ribbons, holding the carrot in place until you get down to the core. You just want the sweet part of the carrot here. Turn it, shave it down to the core again in beautiful, wide ribbons. Repeat until you've gone all the way around. Flip it so you're holding the shaved core, and do the same with the other end. Feed the cores to your chickens, or send them to thirschfeld for his.
  2. Add the corn. Add the red onion. You can also use an equal amount of scallions instead.
  3. To make the avocado vinaigrette, you can use a food processor or a mini chop to purée the ingredients, or you can just mash the avocado with a fork on a cutting board and whisk everything together. I like the fork-board-whisk method. Season it to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Add the dressing to the salad. Add the parsley. Toss to blend with a pair of tongs. If it seems a bit sticky, add a bit more some olive oil. Taste, and adjust the salt and pepper of necessary. This is one of the few things to which I don't add a healthy pinch of red pepper flakes. The original didn't contain them, and every time I taste this, it takes me back to a lovely French afternoon with the daughter.
  5. Divide between plates with some tongs, then with a spatula scrape out every last drop of the dressing. Raise a toast to Cézanne. And some very lucky children.

More Great Recipes:
Salad|Corn Salad|Carrot|Parsley|Vegetable|Avocado|Make Ahead|Summer|Vegetarian|Vegan|Gluten-Free

Reviews (26) Questions (0)

26 Reviews

Panfusine September 21, 2011
You just set off my pavlovian reflex into overdrive!
 
Author Comment
boulangere September 21, 2011
LOL!
 
Author Comment
boulangere September 21, 2011
And no eggs are involved!
 
healthierkitchen September 7, 2011
Mmmmmm...delicious! One more corn dish before the season ends!
 
Author Comment
boulangere September 7, 2011
Quick and simple, you know? It works almost as well with frozen corn, too. Thanks, HK!
 
Author Comment
boulangere September 19, 2011
By the way, it's not so good with canned corn - has that too cooked taste.
 
dymnyno September 4, 2011
Love this...I make a "dressing" of mashed avocado and lemon juice and olive oil and use it on salads...the avocado is creamy and makes a great addition to salads.
 
Author Comment
boulangere September 4, 2011
Oh, does it ever! Silky is the best description I can think of for it.
 
Brokenfoodie September 2, 2011
Love the simplicity of this salad! Beautiful and even though I haven't made it yet, I can already taste it! Thanks for sharing.
 
Author Comment
boulangere September 2, 2011
Really, about a 10-minute salad. 15 if you shuck and strip real corn.
 
Bevi September 1, 2011
I love this. And Aix is one of my all time favorite places. The little greenmarket (not on Cours Mirabeau) just stopped my heart, and the moss fountain is a fond memory. Have you read the MFK Fisher memoirs about Aix?
 
Author Comment
boulangere September 1, 2011
Oh, my goodness yes! The first time my husband and went to Aix, we stayed at the Hotel Cardinale, where she had also stayed long before. And I believe I know your greenmarket off the Cours - the daughter and I had a studio apartment just a couple of blocks off it. If I could live in Aix, I would leave tomorrow.
 
Author Comment
boulangere September 1, 2011
I'm about to post a photo of the warm moss fountain . . .
 
Bevi September 1, 2011
If you decide to run a class there, I am on the list.
 
Author Comment
boulangere September 1, 2011
Well there's an idea to work on. Thank you so much!
 
Author Comment
boulangere September 2, 2011
So sorry, Bevi, but for some reason the moss fountain photos won't load.
 
Author Comment
boulangere September 2, 2011
Still trying . . . .
 
Author Comment
boulangere September 3, 2011
I couldn't get any of the moss fountain photos to post for some reason, but I posted one of one of the others. I'm seriously mulling over the class in Aix idea. Thank you for the suggestion!
 
Author Comment
boulangere September 4, 2011
And I mean seriously thinking about how to bring it about.
 
LydiaPW September 1, 2011
So perfect for summertime. Even if you (for some weird reason) don't feel like eating it, the colors are just so nice to look at.
 
Author Comment
boulangere September 1, 2011
I'll post a photo when I get home tonight. I wish I had one of us eating it there!
 
Author Comment
boulangere September 1, 2011
Argh! I know I took photos of some of those inset markers and of his house, and I can't find them on my computer. Do you have some?
 
Midge September 1, 2011
Love your headnotes and recipe writing. Can't wait to try this!
 
Author Comment
boulangere September 1, 2011
Thank you so much, Midge. It's seriously simple. I could eat a boatload of it.
 
kdubu August 31, 2011
Make this, eat this, it's amazing!
 
Author Comment
boulangere August 31, 2011
You are too funny!