Jul 29, 2009

salade nicoise

it was so hot and humid yesterday. really awful. bad air. (cough cough.) no one felt like cooking anything. but as we've been training for the kids fall sports we needed a meal to sustain us. lovely old salade nicoise came to the rescue. there are many versions of this salad. the traditional one has olives, tomatoes, canned tuna, anchovies, hard cooked eggs, artichoke hearts, sliced red peppers and a dijon vinaigrette. ours was similar, but maybe a more garden fresh version, with the additions of new potatoes, snow peas and no artichoke hearts. often it is served with green beans, which work great. snow peas are certainly non traditional but really worked well here. it was really enthusiastically devoured, so much so that my youngest declared it his new favorite food, after lasagna, of course.

garden fresh salad nicoise
serves 4 at least
6 hardcooked eggs (i prefer david tanis' recipe from his a platter of figs book)
8 new potatoes, sliced and boiled for 10 minutes or so in salted water, allowed to cool to just warm
24 kalmata olives, sorry had no nicoise on hand, and kalamata are larger and juicier at any rate
2 large ripe garden fresh tomatoes, sliced in thin wedges, salted lightly
20 snow peas, boiled for 2 minutes or so in salted water, (i put them on top of the potatoes for the last two minutes)
1 red pepper, sliced in straight, thin strips, marinated briefly in the dressing to soften them up ever so slightly
1 can of the best dolphin safe high in omega 3 tuna you can find
6 lovely anchovies
large platter full of a mixture of mache and spinache (any favorite lettuce will do, red and green leaf would be nice, loved the mache spinach combo though, tender and yet sturdy enough for the weighty top layers)

parsley dijon vinaigrette
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tsp organic dijon mustard
1 large handful freshly picked parsley leaves, some stems okay
1/4 cup champagne or other slightly sweet vinegar such as red wine or fruited
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
touch of salt, touch of pepper, tiny pinch of sugar, honey or sweetener if you need it after tasting
blend well for 45 seconds in blender

alas, i was out of anchovies, only because i've been making so much caesar salad lately. was perfectly fine and less canned tasting without them even though i love them dearly. served it with our ubiquitous summer side dish, steamed farmers market sweet corn.

to assemble: first arrange the lettuce on a large platter, then top with the potatoes, peppers, olives, snow peas, tomatoes, egg and lastly the tuna. drizzle the vinaigrette over the top as generously or lightly as suits you, and enjoy. everyone gets to take a bit of what they like most this way. loads of protein and vitamins in this dish. yet sumptuous. trying to keep cool despite this muggy weather. to your health then, xo, g

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