Monday, August 6, 2012

Salade Nicoise

I have continued my trend in serving a salad everyday since our week at the beach where I made a different salad every day for lunch.  I made a classic Nicoise Salad for dinner tonight with Boston lettuce, boiled potatoes, green beans, canned tuna packed in oil, tomatoes, Nicoise olives and capers all dressed with a simple homemade vinaigrette.  It turned out to be a perfect dinner salad.  I have not ever used tuna packed in oil and was stunned to find the difference it made in this salad.  If you have never made a Nicoise salad, this is a classic one to start with.

Salade Nicoise
Makes 2 servings

4-6 small potatoes such as fingerlings or baby Yukon Golds, scrubbed
1/3 pound green beans, trimmed
2 hard-boiled eggs
2-3 handfuls Boston lettuce, rinsed and dried
1/2 shallot, finely chopped, rinsed and patted dry
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Everyday Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
1 5-6 ounce can tuna packed in oil, drained
2 tomatoes, cut into chunks, or about 10 grape tomatoes, halved
About 10 Nicoise olives, pitted or not
1 tablespoon capers, drained and patted dry

Everyday Vinaigrette
1 tablespoon wine vinegar (red or white)
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Place all vinaigrette ingredients in a small jar, cover and shake vigorously until blended.  Set aside.

To make the salad:
Put the potatoes in a large pot of salted water and bring to a boil.  Cook until the potatoes are tender enough to be pierced easily with the tip of a knife, 10 to 20 minutes (maybe even a little longer), depending on the size and age of your potatoes.  Scoop the potatoes out of the pot with a slotted spoon and put them in a bowl to cool.

Toss the green beans into the pot and cook them until tender, or crisp-tender - start checking them after 4 minutes.  Drain the beans and run them under cold water, or dunk them into a bowl of cold water and ice, to cool them and set their color.  Drain, then pat dry.

When you're ready to serve, depending on their size, halve, or quarter the potatoes.  Peel the eggs and cut them in half.  Choose a large platter (or bowl) and put the greens on it.  Sprinkle over the chopped shallot, season with salt and pepper and drizzle over a spoonful or so of the vinaigrette; toss.

If you chose the platter you can now compose the salad; otherwise divide the dressed greens between two plates and compose the salad any way you wish.  I chose a somewhat symmetrical patter by laying the potatoes and beans in a row.  I then added the tuna to a corner of the dish and then the  tomatoes and eggs.  I scattered over the Nicoise olives and capers and drizzled everything with a little more vinaigrette. 

Slightly adapted from Around my French Table

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