A little bit of delectable excess on a plate, this salad was traditionally an efficient way to satisfy the hearty appetites of field and forest workers in Alsace, where it is a cornerstone of the regional cuisine. Today it is still a well-loved family dish that has migrated into the winstub, or Alsatian bistro. In Alsace it is served as a first course before a savory meat pie or a choucroute. Serve this with a cracklingly spry Gewütrztraminer.–Susan Herrmann Loomis
Gruyère and Smoked Sausage Salad Recipe
Hands-On Time: 30 minutes | Total Time: 2 hours | Serves 6
- For the vinaigrette
- 1/3 cup sherry vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 shallots, minced
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon mild extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup loosely packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 medium (about 7 1/5 ounces) cervelas (garlicky cured pork sausage), or lightly smoked sausages such as kielbasa
- 8 ounces Gruyère, coarsely grated
- For the greens
- 6 cups (4 ounces) salad greens, such as a blend of Batavia and butter lettuce, rinsed and spun dry
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Fine sea salt
- 1. Whisk together the vinegar, mustard, and shallots in a small bowl. Slowly add the oil in a fine stream, whisking constantly until the vinaigrette is emulsified and thickened.
- 2. Mince the parsley and whisk it into the vinaigrette. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- 3. Place the sausages in a medium saucepan and cover with water by 1 inch. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat so the water is simmering. Simmer until the sausages are cooked, about 20 minutes (10 minutes if using kielbasa).
- 4. Put the Gruyère in a medium bowl; pour half the vinaigrette over it, and toss, using two forks, until all the cheese is moistened. Set aside, covered, for at least 1 hour, and up to 3 hours.
- 5. Meanwhile, remove the casings from the cervelas. Cut the sausages lengthwise in half and score the outside of each half with a sharp knife in a crosshatch pattern. (If you have large cervelas, cut them into thick rounds and score the rounds.) Lay the cervelas on a platter and pour the remaining vinaigrette over them. Turn the cervelas so they are moistened all over, then let them sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour, and up to 3 hours, turning them occasionally so they absorb the vinaigrette evenly.
- 6. To serve, in a large bowl, toss the salad greens with the olive oil and salt to taste, and divide among six small plates. Divide the cheese among the plates, mounding it slightly atop the salad greens. Place one half a cervelas (or an equal number of slices) next to the cheese, and serve immediately.
Astuces: The cheese and sausage are marinated at room temperature so they more easily absorb the flavors of the vinaigrette. Serve the salad at room temperature as well, for refrigeration mutes its flavor. This is good the day it is made, but it doesn’t keep well even to the following day. I call for Batavia lettuce (what we call summer crisp or French crisp) because it has a lovely crunch but is more tender than Romaine.
Gruyère and Smoked Sausage Salad Recipe © 2005 Susan Herrmann Loomis. All rights reserved.