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cucumber salad from christian constant

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hi chowhounders,

i'm hoping you can help me out ... last fall, i stopped in at christian constant's little cafe on 37 rue d'assas for a quick lunch. DH had a lamb tagine and i had an assortment of three composed salads. specifically, there was a lentil salad and a cucumber salad that i'd like to re-create at home.

i've found several recipes for a french lentil salad (using de puy lentils) but i'm having problems finding a recipe for the cucumber salad. it was creamy (creme fraiche, perhaps?) and delicious. there was dill in the dressing. i did not taste mayonnaise.

has anyone ever had a cucumber salad like this? does anyone have a recipe they can share?

thanks!

lilaki

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  1. 37 rue d'Assas is the chocolate shop owned the other Christian Constant. I guess you mean Cafe Constant at 139 rue Saint-Dominique. Constant the chef does have recipe books: http://www.leviolondingres.com/eng_re...

    14 Replies
    1. re: PhilD

      hi phild,

      no, i mean christian constant the pattissier/choclatier. he has a TINY cafe next to his pastry/chocolate shop.

      1. re: lilaki

        on rue de Fleurus indeed.

        cucumber is often made with yoghurts, schallots, and all sorts of seasonings -- typically paprika and parsley; or mint; or tarragon and chive; . Cucumber are salted in advance to lose their water.

        1. re: souphie

          hi souphie,

          do you think that there was something richer than yogurt? and less tangy? i remember thinking that the dressing was exceptionally creamy!

          also, re: salting cucumbers...how does this work? i can peel and dice the cucumbers, and then one? let it sit in salt for a while before draining/rinsing?

          tks!!

          1. re: lilaki

            actually, it can be cream, fresh cheese, fresh sheep or goat cheese, a mix of all those.

            Indeed the cucumbers should be diced (or sliced), salted generously and then left for instance in a strain for 20 min to one hour. Then indeed rinsing them can be appropriate, depending on how they taste (different qualities will lose more or less water and taste differently).

            1. re: souphie

              hi souphie,

              thanks very much! i'll try it this weekend!

              lilaki

        2. re: lilaki

          My mistake, I hadn't realised there was a cafe around the corner.
          One tip to add to Souphies, it may be as important to use the right variety of cucumber. Many salads, especially those with a Mediterranean influence, use the short stubby variety of cucumber as opposed to the long salad variety. The shorter ones are more crunchy and have less moisture so suit a lot of Mediterranean salads better. In the UK we usually get them from middle eastern shops.

          1. re: PhilD

            PhilD,
            In your post above you refer to "the other Christian Constant." Is the Christian Constant with the shop on at the corner of rue d'Assas and rue de Fleurus different from the Christian Constant who seems to own a stretch of rue Saint- Dominique?

            1. re: parislovernyc

              Yes, same name completely but different Christian Constants at Rue d'Assas and Rue St Dominique. Have met them both.

              1. re: f2dat06

                Yes, as f2dat06 says they are different people. The rue St Dominique Christian is a highly regarded chef with four restaurants, The rue d'Assas Christian is a highly regarded chocolatier. I was unaware he also had a small cafe next to his chocolate shop. Hence my error in thinking lilaki had mixed them up.

                1. re: PhilD

                  Thanks to you both for this information. It's amazing. But speaking of Christian Constant, maybe you can clear up another mystery for me. After a wonderful meal recently at Violon d'Ingres, my partner and I wanted to try another Christian Constant restaurant and we saw in Pudlo that breakfast was very pleasant at Cafe Constant (I think that was the name; I don't have my Pudlo with me right now) on rue Saint-Dominique and that the room had a wonderful atmosphere, zinc bar, etc. We went the next morning and were completely disappointed by how ordinary the ground floor cafe was, with no zinc bar, etc. and they were just serving coffee, juice and tartine like any other cafe/bar. Did we miss something? Any insights are welcome.

                  1. re: parislovernyc

                    I have never eaten breakfast, only dinner, at Cafe Constant, would agree the decor is, to me anyway, not especially extrordinary. Cafe Constant has its own site, lnk below:

                    http://www.cafeconstant.com/1.aspx

                    1. re: parislovernyc

                      Cafe Constant has a little zinc bar on the left by the door and Christian can often be seen propping it up. It is designed to be his cheap, very basic cafe, and therefore is a bit spartan and rough around the edges. The restaurants almost have a hierachy from the Cafe, through Cocottes, and Fables to Violin.

                      I would think Pudlo has over sold the place. For me the best breakfasts are on a pleasant outside terrace watching Paris wake-up.

                      1. re: parislovernyc

                        Café Constant is a French memory thing. It's not special (it's nice though), but the thing is that it's like cafés were when Pudlo was a young successful man.

                        1. re: souphie

                          Thanks to you all for this information about Cafe Constant. (I'm still in shock from learning that there are two Christian Constants.)