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Bayard Salad

This is a singular salad from Antoine’s that you’ll like if you have a taste for strongly-flavored crunchy food. It is a ball of chopped vegetables in a vinaigrette, set atop an artichoke bottom, then topped with a rolled anchovy filled with Louisiana caviar. It has an almost Cubist appearance–like the sort of salad you’d expect Picasso to make when he was in a creative mood. It’s not for everybody, but I like it. Point of interest: a lot of the ingredients in here are the raw materials for Antoine’s famous oysters Rockefeller. But pretend you didn’t notice. The salad is named after a legendary horse with magical powers from French Renaissance poetry. I don’t know why.

Antoines--SaladaBayard-

  • 6 whole artichokes, steamed
  • 1 cup chopped fennel, bulb only
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, leaves and upper stems
  • 1 bunch green onions, tender green parts only, sliced thin
  • 2 small cans anchovies packed in oil (about 15-20 anchovies total)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 head Belgian endive
  • 2 oz. Louisiana caviar
  • Dressing:
  • 2 Tbs. Creole mustard
  • 1/4 cup tarragon vinegar
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. Tabasco
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1. Pull the artichokes apart. Remove the bottoms and set aside. With a spoon, scrape the meat from the bottom of the leaves. Chop whole any tender white leaves from the center, and mix them with the scrapings.

2. Combine the artichoke leaves and scrapings with the fennel, celery, parsley, and green onions. (To save time, you can chop the fennel, celery, and parsley together in a food processor.)

3. Set aside the six largest, best-looking anchovies, and chop the rest. Add them and the salt and pepper to the vegetable mixture, and stir with a kitchen form to combine everything uniformly.

4. Make the dressing by putting all the dressing ingredients plus 2 Tbs. water into a bowl and whisking to blend. Add the olive oil in a thin stream while continuing to whisk, until a creamy dressing results. (This can also be done in a shaker bottle.)

5. Place an artichoke bottom on each serving plate. Spoon about a tablespoon of dressing into each artichoke bottom. With an ice cream scoop (or your hands), make balls a little smaller than a tennis ball with the vegetable mixture.

6. Roll up the six reserved anchovies, leaving a hole in the center about the size of your little finger. With your big finger at the bottom, fill the hole with caviar, and place the stuffed anchovy atop the ball of vegetables.

7. Arrange four endive leaves like flower petals around the artichoke bottoms, Drizzle the dressing over the entire salad and serve. The salad can be made in advance and chilled until serving time, but it’s best to take them out of the refrigerator about a half-hour before serving.

Serves six.