Monday, August 4, 2008

Salade Niçoise

This salad is one of Pat's favorites, reminding him of earlier days in faraway lands. He's always complained about these salads in the US being 'not quite right', so we decided to try to make an authentic go of it last night. When we finally sat down to dinner (after an hour of prep), a happy, wistful smile spread across his face. It was just right. He closed his eyes to savor the flavors, and told me stories of dear friends, beautiful countryside, and memorable food.

The recipe we used is from Julia Child's "The Way to Cook". We are using her book as a way to learn new French techniques, and to stretch ourselves to eat/prepare foods we might not otherwise. This was perfect for a midsummer's meal - everything was fresh and in season from the farmer's market.

Salade Niçoise
  • 1/2 recipe French Potato Salad
  • 2/3 c. Oil & Lemon Dressing
  • 1 head Buttercrunch lettuce, washed, thoroughly dried, and torn in large sections
  • (get only fresh heads with soft, supple leaves - others will be bitter)
  • 2-3 Tbl olive oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 lb wax beans, blanched
  • 2 very fresh tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 can tuna belly, packed in oil (St. Jude's - available in Seattle supermarkets as our locally-canned line-caught tuna)
  • 1/2 c. Niçoise olives
  • 1/2 c. fresh shelled peas, blanched
  • 2 large duck eggs, perfectly hard-boiled and sliced
  • 8 anchovy fillets
  • 2 Tbl. fresh parsley, chopped

*To assemble the salad
  1. Drizzle the lettuce leaves with the olive oil, and sprinkle with salt. Pile into a large, shallow serving dish.
  2. Spoon between a tablespoon and a teaspoon of dressing on each of the following in separate bowls or plates: wax beans, tomatoes, tuna, and peas.
  3. Mound the potato salad in the middle of the lettuce.
  4. Place the pre-seasoned vegetables and tuna in small, attractive groups around the potato salad.
  5. Dress the salad with the remaining dressing.
  6. Place the egg slices around the perimeter, laying an anchovy fillet across each.
  7. Sprinkle with olives and parsley.

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