Although this is a meal Byron and I ate a few days ago, I finally have time to write about it due to Hurricane Sandy shutting down the city. We will have power, but its nasty outside! If you have a dog, it doesn’t really matter what the weather is doing, you’re going to be forced into it. Luckily, Coco seemed pretty freaked out by the wind, so we were back inside quickly. Smart pup!
In other news, let’s talk about salad. When I was a kid and was asked “If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?” I would always say “Salad.” In retrospect it was a cop out answer, but in my mind, “salad” was full of possibilities because there are so many wonderful types of salad. Today, I’m going to share my recipe for Salad Niçoise. This is a classic salad, that is always satisfying and doesn’t require much time. It’s also very pretty, so its a good salad for dinner parties as well.
Time: 50 minutes
What You’ll Need
- a stove
- a medium sized pot
- a mixing bowl
- a whisk
Ingredients – keep in mind that these are approximations and you can adjust these amounts depending on which ingredients you favor more than others.
- 2 Eggs – medium hard boiled*
- One bunch Haricots Verts (green beans) – blanched
- 8 fingerling potatoes, sliced in half, boiled until tender
- 1 jar tuna packed in oil
- 10 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- Niçoise Olives or Olive Oil Cured Black Olives, pits removed**
- 1/2 red onion, sliced thinly, marinated in olive oil
- A handful of arugula
- 4 Anchovies (optional)
- 1 tbs tarragon, chopped
- 3 tbs apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
If you have more than one pot you can start cooking more than one vegetable at a time, if not, this recipe make take you a bit longer, but it’s worth it! Don’t give up yet.
Here are a few tips for cooking each ingredient perfectly
- Onions – Slice thinly and place in a boil. Season with salt and olive oil. If you do this far enough in advance you can mix them around and place them in the fridge for an hour or so. If you’re pressed for time, massage the oil and salt into onions by crunching them around with your hand for one minute straight.
- Eggs – People will tell you a lot of specific ways to make the perfect hard boiled egg. Here’s my way: Start the eggs in cold water, well salted. Heat over high heat until boiling. Boil for about 3 minutes, then dump water into the sink. Rattle the eggs around the pot so the shell cracks. Run cold water over the eggs so they are cool enough to touch. Peel the eggs and set them aside. Slice just before plating.
- Potatoes – Like the eggs, start them in cold, salted water. Heat over high flame and once they come to a boil, check them with a fork and cook until tender.
- Haricots Verts – Heat well salted water over high flame. Once water is boiling, add haricots verts and cook until just tender, about 1 minute.
Once you have your vegetables prepped it’s time to make your dressing. I always like to make my dressing in a bowl to ensure that all the ingredients are blended thoroughly. First, add the tarragon, vinegar, dijon, salt and pepper. Whisk well. Then, slowly add your olive oil, whisking as you do. If you whisk quickly enough, your dressing should become a light yellow and thicken a bit. Taste your dressing. If it needs something, add it. Dressing is the most important part of a salad.
Remove the tuna from the jar. Tuna packed in oil usually takes the shape of small logs. You can leave them like this or break them up. You can also use fresh tuna, slightly seared, but unless you can get sushi grade tuna, I suggest going with the jarred stuff. It’s actually really good!
Now it’s time to plate your salad (the fun part!). I have illustrated below how I plated mine, but you can proceed in any order you please. I like to dress the arugula first, using it as a base, but pour dressing over the rest of the ingredients at the end, adding the eggs last.
This was one of my favorite salads growing up and continues to be a recipe I turn for entertaining or a quiet night at home. It may seem like this salad requires a lot of ingredients, but it’s really about simple flavors complimenting each other. If each one of your ingredients starts fresh and is cooked well, this will be a really delicious salad that you will want to make again and again.