The daughter and I sandwiched some time in Aix en Provence last 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 chintzy 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. So many businesses are wonderfully closed on Sunday, and 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 – un sandwich for me and un pizza for her. And this hold-everything-this-is amazing salad. We deconstructed it as we ate, and I made assiduous notes in my little food journal. After we returned home, the daughter called me to double-check the ingredients; it was the first thing she made. So fast, so simple, so good.
Serves 2 for lunch, more as a side
FOR THE SALAD
4 carrots, peeled
2 cups corn kernels, about 2 ears worth, or you can use frozen (thaw it first, of course)
1/2 red onion, 1/4″ dice
1/4 cup Italian parsley, chopped
FOR THE DRESSING
4 ounces olive oil
2 ounces white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons crème fraîche
1 tablespoon honey
Sea or kosher salt and grinds of pepper
- After you’ve peeled the carrots, use the peeler to shave off long curls of carrot. Work your way around one end, starting from the middle and shaving to the end. Turn the carrot around and shave the other end. Leave some of the core intact so you have something to hold onto. Add the cores to your stock bag.
- Add the corn, onion, and parsley. Toss to blend.
- Make the dressing. Whisk together all ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour over salad and toss to blend. Taste, and adjust seasonings as necessary.
- Raise a toast to summer. And some extremely lucky little French children.