Thursday, November 13, 2014

Salad Perigourdine (Salade Périgourdine) on the French Menu.

Behind the French Menu
Bryan G. Newman
Updated May 2019
Salade Perdigourdine 
Cuisine à la Perigourdine
Cuisine à la Périgourdine is one of the most revered regional cuisines of France, but it's not a single way of cooking; it's a cuisine that highlights regional products along with locally produced wines.  

Perigord was an ancient French Province that during the French revolution was included in the department of Dordogne, now included in the super region of Nouvelle Aquitaine. Changes take time in this part of France, and even after 200 years the locals still consider themselves Périgourdines. 

The home of Cuisine a la Périgourdine is the small but beautiful city of Périgueux. Perigueux is a small, walkable city, with its history reaching back to the Romans. On many local maps, there are colors dividing different parts of Perigord, the Dordogne; the colors indicate the specialties of each area.
The link to the English language website of the city of Périgueux is:
The city of Perigueux.   

  Salade Périgourdine
Salade Périgourdine will be served as a cold entrée, the French first course. Salade Périgourdine will be on menus all over France and the heart of a Salade Périgourdine is duck. 
Salade Périgourdine.
Salade Perigourdine on your menu:

Salade Périgourdine: Salade, Foie Gras Maison sur Toasts aux Figues, Magrets Fumés, Gésiers Confits   Resting on a bed of lettuce is a homemade pate of fattened duck's liver served on toast, accompanied by figs. Also included are slices of, smoked duck breast, and duck gizzards confits.  A Salade Périgourdine will come with a vinaigrette dressing.

The duck:

The price you will pay for your salad will depend, very much, on how many ways duck is included. Traditionally the centerpiece of a Salade Périgourdine is duck gizzards confit. Duck gizzard confit, are duck giblets that are full of flavor and so when these tender, tasty, giblets are missing, you may enjoy a superb duck salad but it will not be a Salade Périgourdine. Duck may also be included as magret de canard fumé, smoked duck breast and foie gras de canard, fattened duck' liver.

The salad:

Whether a menu listing notes it or not Salade Périgourdine will be served on a bed of lettuce or other salad greens. Some listings may offer a salad mesclun which should be a composed salad made with at least five different salad greens. Wherever in France you order Salade Périgourdine local produce may be added to the salad and in-season fresh haricot vert, green beans, tomatoes, and local fresh white asparagus may be included.
                                        Salade Mesclun
Foie gras is liver from fattened duck or geese; for Salade Périgourdine it will be duck liver. Foie gras is not essential for a Salade Périgourdine but with its popularity in French cuisine, it is often included. There are over five different ways that foie gras may be served and your menu should clearly note which way it will be served; however, that is rarely the case. With a Salade Pergourdin you will usually be served a Pâté de Foie Gras, a foie gras pate that must, by law, include at least 50% duck or (goose liver). In the menu listing above it reads Foie Gras Maison; here the chef is showing that he or she makes the pate with their own unique technique and flavor. The pate will still be at least 50%  duck liver.

The original confits were made with cooked meat and/or poultry that was stored under a thick layer of fat for the winter months. That aging and cooking technique produced such wonderful flavors that confits remain very popular despite the extra work involved. Whether you are a cook or not, you know that a stew or soup tastes better on the second or third day and that is the science behind confits. Modern confits are kept in a refrigerator’s cooler, and in a good restaurant they may have been aged there for one or two weeks, but not months.  Confits are not served with the fat under which they were stored and so a duck confit will not be any fattier than the same dish prepared in any other manner. Gizzard confits, an important part of Salade Perigoudine, are duck giblets and as a result of the confit preparation are tender and tasty.
A salad of gizzard confit without any extras.
Photograph courtesy of LesFoodies.Com
The Salad Dressing:
The vinaigrette dressing served with a Salade Périgourdine is of great importance. Often the vinaigrette will be made with Vinaigre Xérès, sherry vinegar, or a local fruit vinegar or possibly balsamic vinegar. If the chef chooses to keep to local products, the oil in the dressing may come from the Perigord’s famous Noix du Périgord AOC/AOP, its AOP walnuts.  The walnuts themselves are also often included in a Salade Pergourdine.
A shelled walnut
Truffles are an underground fungus, those that are edible are rare and very much in demand.  Truffles bring a unique flavor, both on their own and on the foods they are prepared with; that creates the demand and makes them expensive. In a good restaurant, and the right season you may be lucky.  The Maitre D’ may come to your table and add to your Salade Périgourdine a few shavings of the Truffe de Périgord, the Périgord truffle. Occasionally there may be black truffle oil or truffle essence in the vinaigrette, and that is nice, but it is not the same, just a hint of what might have been.
Salade Périgourdine:  Gésiers Confits, Mesclun avec Cerneaux de Noix du Périgord, Magret de Canard Fume, Foie Gras Duck gizzards confit, a salad mesclun prepared with the famous AOP Perigord Walnuts, slices of smoked duck breast and fattened duck liver,
Ducks and Geese in Perigord.
Photograph courtesy of Pays de Bergerac
Salade Périgourdine - Haricots Verts, Magret Fumé, Gésier de Canard Confit, Foie Gras de Canard - Fresh green beans, smoked duck breast. Duck gizzards confit and a pate of fattened duck's liver.
Salade Périgourdine: Cœurs de Canard et Gésiers Confits, Lardons et Magrets Fume - Duck hearts and gizzards confit served with lardons, fried bacon pieces, and slices of smoked duck breast.   As the price of duck-based ingredients has risen, many restaurants will offer lower-priced versions of the salad; that is easily done by excluding the foie gras, the fattened duck liver pate.  The liver is not an essential part of the traditional salad; however, many menu listings will just note Salade Périgourdine, and since what the salad contains affects the price that is the time to ask what it contains.
Pizza Perigourdine.
Fast food has come to Perigord
Accompanying your salad with local wines:

Perigord, the Dordogne, is famous for its wines, including its Bergerac AOC/AOP and its Monbazillac AOC/AOP wines.

Around the town of Bergerac (the home the semi-fictional Cyrano de Bergerac) are the Bergerac AOC/AOP vineyards with 13 separate appellations.  These appellations include the exceptionally famous red Bergerac as well as Bergerac rose and white wines; the white wines run the gamut from dry to sweet.

Statue of Cyrano de Bergerac in Bergerac.
A play about a semi-fictionalized Cyrano de Bergerac brought the word panache,  “in a grand or flamboyant manner,” into the English language.
Before leaving home for France or when in the area, ask the local Tourist Office for a map of their Route des Vins de Bergerac.  The route offers you the option of visiting over 120 different vintners to taste, for a small contribution to the local economy, their wares. You will pass through or near beautiful villages and close to many good local restaurants; just remember to have a designated driver. The Bergerac tourist information English language website is:

Just outside Bergerac and across the River Dordogne is the village of Monbazillac. From around the village comes the famed Monbazillac AOC/AOP sweet wine. Their House of Wine and Tourism website is:
Chateau de Monbazillac
There are, among many others,  two excellent English language websites that cover the whole of the Perigord/Dordogne:

For more about dining in  Perigord/Dordogne click on the link below:


Bryan G. Newman
Behind the French Menu
Copyright 2010, 2013, 2014, 2019

For information on the unpublished book behind this blog write to Bryan Newman

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