Bread & Butter Salad With Dijon Vinaigrette

August  5, 2020
4 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 10 minutes
  • Serves 4, with leftovers
Author Notes

This hearty, picnic-ready salad is a play on jambon beurre, the classic Parisian sandwich of ham and cheese on a buttered baguette. The only cooking required is toasting chunks of torn bread in a skillet in lots of salted butter until crispy on the outside, still soft on the inside. From there, it’s all about assembly: Combine the buttery croutons with shaved ham and cheese, sliced cucumbers, Castelvetrano olives, arugula, and Dijon vinaigrette, and marvel at your 15-minute, wholly delicious creation.

Like jambon beurre, this salad holds up well for hours at any temperature, and also tastes good the next day. I love how the texture of the croutons changes from crispy and crunchy to soft and chewy as they soak up the vinaigrette—a different but equally delicious salad-eating experience.

A few notes: Any type of day-old crusty bread, such as sourdough or ciabatta, works well. Be sure to tear the bread: a mix of irregular shapes and sizes makes for the best, most addictive croutons. Reach for any good-quality ham, such as French-style, Black Forest, or prosciutto. Same goes for the cheese—aged Gruyère, regular Swiss, havarti, provolone are all good options. —EmilyC

What You'll Need
  • For the Bread & Butter Salad:
  • 4 Persian cucumbers (12 ounces), unpeeled and cut into 1/4-inch coins
  • 1 pinch kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 4 thick slices crusty bread, such as sourdough), torn into bite-sized pieces (about 4 cups total)
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter
  • 4 ounces French-style ham or prosciutto, thinly sliced (see author notes)
  • 3 ounces aged Gruyère or Swiss cheese (see author notes)
  • 3/4 cup Castelvetrano olives, pitted and torn
  • 2 cups (packed) arugula
  • 1 pinch flaky sea salt, to taste
  • For the Dijon Vinaigrette:
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 pinch kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  1. Put cucumbers in a colander and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Let drain while preparing the rest of the salad; shake colander a few times to remove excess water. Blot the cucumbers dry with a towel.
  2. Melt butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add bread, stirring until each piece is evenly coated in the butter, then lower heat. Cook for about 10 to 12 minutes, or until nicely browned and crisp on the outside, still soft on the inside. (Tip: don’t rush this step—cooking the bread low and slow yields the best textured croutons!)
  3. To make Dijon vinaigrette: Combine red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, and a pinch of salt and pepper in a small bowl or jar with a tight fitting lid, then add the olive oil, whisking (or shaking) to emulsify. Taste and adjust the acid and seasoning.
  4. In a large salad bowl, combine ham, cheese, cucumbers, olives, and toasted bread. Toss with 2 tablespoons vinaigrette until integrated—then drizzle in more, starting with 1 to 2 tablespoons, and toss until the salad is evenly dressed (you may not need the full amount of vinaigrette). Taste—adding a few pinches of flaky sea salt if needed. Gently toss in the arugula (the vinaigrette already in the bowl will be enough to dress it).
  5. Serve right away, or let sit at room temperature for several hours (loosely covered) until ready to serve.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Jenna
  • EmilyC
  • girlwithaknife

Recipe by: EmilyC

I'm a home cook. I love salads. Two things you'll always find in my refrigerator are lemons and butter, and in my pantry good quality chocolate and the makings for chocolate chip cookies.

4 Reviews

girlwithaknife August 25, 2020
Really good, and pretty easy to boot! I tore up sliced provolone sitting in my cheese drawer. Served for a substantial dinner with cheese biscuits.
EmilyC August 26, 2020
Happy to hear -- thanks so much for your note!
Jenna August 13, 2020
Phenomenal! EmilyC your recipes have never failed me!
EmilyC August 13, 2020
Aw, so happy to hear! Thanks so much, Jenna, for trying this and circling back!