A few years ago my husband and I took a trip to Brussels. It would be our last trip as a couple before our son was born. We spent the entire weekend wandering around the city visiting different markets, churches, museums, and pretty much every belgian chip and waffle stand we came across.
On our final night we stumbled across a restaurant that served the most amazing fresh fish and produce. I’ve never been one to order fresh fish (aside from salmon), mainly because I don’t like faffing about with all the bones. But as we followed the waiter to our table, the most delicious looking trout was being placed onto the neighbouring table in front of a fellow diner. And just like that I was sold. Trout it was!
It was a funny thing that trout. While it was delicious (albeit rather boney), it wasn’t the most memorable part of my meal. Served alongside my trout was the simplest most delightful salad I’d ever had. Nothing fancy, just a bed of baby leaf lettuce with some olive oil, balsamic glaze, and a sprinkling of fleur de sel and parmesan. I told you it was nothing fancy! To be honest, I don’t even know if something so simple qualifies as a salad.
I returned home to the UK dreaming of that salad, so I quickly got to work creating a version of my own with a few added extras to make it slightly more substantial than the original version.
I feel a bit silly posting a ‘recipe’ for such a simple salad, because it really is so so simple. And because it is so simple, you’ll want to make sure to use the best possible ingredients – especially the olive oil.
Here’s my take on this simple salad from Brussels:
Simple Shaved Salad
Mixed baby leaf lettuce, washed
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Fleur de sel
Run a vegetable peeler along the carrot and cucumber to create a pile of ribbons of each. Do the same with the parmesan to create thick shavings.
Toss the carrot and cucumber ribbons with the baby leaf lettuce, and drizzle with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil and and a few drops of balsamic glaze.
Gently toss the leaves so that they’re coated with the oil and vinegar mixture. Finally, lightly sprinkle with fleur de sel and parmesan shavings.
I know I’ve said it before, but I love this simple salad. My favourite way to eat it is alongside a fish cake or two, but I’ve also been known to eat a big bowl full all by itself.