Monday, September 14, 2009

Say Cheese Salad!

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As I do research for The Cheese Shop Mysteries, because my protagonist is supposed to be an expert in all things cheese, I am having the best time checking out restaurants that spotlight cheese. I found a great place this past week. It’s actually, get this, called Say Cheese! [my motto] It’s in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles on Hyperion. It’s a charming deli as well as a café.

So, anyway, my friend and I went for lunch and we chose the same salad, Lemon Dill with Smoked Salmon. The salad was DELICIOUS!!!! But it did not have cheese in it, and I thought, harrumph, I must rectify that. I wanted to add a cheese that had a nutty flavor and the firm texture of a Tomme Savoie. The cheesemonger at Say Cheese fixed me up with Vacherin Fribourgeois, a cow’s milk cheese from Switzerland.

I went home that night with all the fixings and plated the salad as I’d seen it at the restaurant, but I tweaked by adding some spicy olives, baby tomatoes, and slices of the cheese. Voilá!




[makes one salad]

Mixed greens

4 stalks asparagus per salad, cooked al dente and cooled

3 oz. smoked salmon per salad

6 mixed olives

2 slices Vacherin Fribourgeois

6 baby tomatoes


Layer the greens on a large plate.

Place the four stalks of asparagus down the center of the greens.

Place three olive and three tomatoes on each side of the plate.

Wrap slices of salmon around each stalk of asparagus.

Crisscross two triangular slices of Vacherin Fribourgeois cheese below the salmon.

Next, I tried coming up with the same dressing as the restaurant. While they probably used mayonnaise, I kept mine simpler, a little lighter. I had brought a sample home and had my husband taste-test. He preferred mine. [Note: He might be biased.]

Here’s the recipe:



[enough for 3-4 salads]

1 large lemon

2 Tbs. olive oil

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. balsamic vinegar

1/2 egg (whipped)

1 tsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Pinch of dill


Squeeze lemon juice into a bowl, remove any seeds.

Add the other ingredients.

Whip with a blender. Serve immediately.

Serve with a crusty loaf of bread and you’ve got a lovely fall meal as the temperatures start to turn.

Enjoy! And Say Cheese!

And if you like, visit my website: and sign up for my newsletter with recipes and tips and a recurring column about the history of cheese. Next month I'll spotlight Vacherin Fribourgeois!


  1. Avery, this is great. I'm always on the lookout for a new and interesting salad!


  2. Oh, that plate looks good. I wish I could have it right now for an early lunch. We have some big beefsteak tomatoes from the green grocer up the block and I've been in a rut with the same dressings. I'm going to get myself some fresh dill and give your Lemon Dill dressing a try. Thanks, Avery!

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  3. I'm with Cleo...this sounds like lunch sometime really soon! And I love smoked salad.


  4. Avery-

    I love the lemon-dill dressing combo and your salad looks delish! A must try!

  5. The olives and cheese sound like a great addition. I'm going to have to visit our local gourmet shop to see if I can track down some of the cheeses you've been mentioning in your posts.

  6. Love cheese. Our whole family does. When the kids were younger, we would go through more than 5 pounds a week. We still quite a bit. Love to cook with it.

  7. You are making me hungry. And a little bit homesick for LA. The cheese you mention is new to me, but sounds like something good to try. I love cheese, specially grilled cheese sandwiches. First, grill the cheese. . . .