One of things that surprised me when I started work in Switzerland in 1973 was cheese salad. Strange to me or not, we had several varieties on the lunch menu at the hotel and Kaesesalat became part of my repertoire right away. Since then I order one occasionally while visiting Switzerland but never tried making my own until I recently tasted a great version made by my friend Erika Lieben, a native of Basel who lives there and in New York. I liked Erika’s salad so much I asked for the recipe, and this is an adaptation of it.

Makes 4 appetizer servings


Salad

 6 ounces Swiss Gruyère, cut into thin slices and then into 3/8-inch squares

6 ounces Swiss Emmentaler, cut into thin slices and then into 3/8-inch squares

1 cup rinsed, trimmed, and thinly sliced radishes

3/4 cup diced sour or dill pickles or French cornichons

3/4 cup diced red bell pepper

1 cup toasted 1/2-inch croutons, made from baguette or other firm-textured bread

1 tablespoon finely snipped chives

Dressing

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

2 teaspoons prepared horseradish

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup sunflower or nut oil

2 tablespoons finely cut scallions

1 tablespoon picked chervil leaves or chopped flat-leaf parsley

  1. For the salad, combine all the ingredients except the croutons and chives in a mixing bowl and fold together.
  2. For the dressing, whisk the vinegar, horseradish, mustard, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk in the oil gradually to make a smooth dressing. Stir in the scallions and chervil and fold into the salad.
  3. Right before serving, fold the salad together again and tip the bowl to drain it of any excess dressing. Fold in the croutons and scrape the salad into a serving bowl or onto individual plates. Sprinkle with the chives.