Salade d’automne

autumn salad1This salad is as easy to make as it is tasty, with mixed greens, prosciutto, walnuts, garlic and a touch of mint. It makes a great first course at dinner, works well as a light meal preceded by soup, and has enough star quality to serve as a main course at lunch, perhaps with a bit of cheese to follow. You can use any number of greens, for this salad is a variation on mesclun — the Provençal salad mixture that has become ubiquitous in France.

Salade d’automne / Autumn salad with country ham and walnuts

Traditionally, to merit its name, mesclun (from a Latin word meaning ‘to mix’) had to be made from at least seven types of greens and herbs, among them chervil. I have seen and tasted mesclun made with a broad variety of leaves, and even with flowers — orange nasturtiums, for example, or purple chive flowers. But they are neither necessary nor desirable in this salad, for they would clash with the fantastic combination of walnuts and garlic that is not only delicious but also a staple of the kind of cuisine that has made Georgians — from the Caucasus, not the States — one of the longest living peoples on earth. The mint adds a rustic flavor that will have your guests begging for more.

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