Salade Nicoise

Every weekend I have the task to figure out how to make a nice lunch.  When it’s just me alone during the week, I just toss a few things together and wouldn’t go to much more effort than that.  However, on the weekend, we try to have a nice lunch as well as dinner, double the work!  So this is a very simple and nicely filling meal that is easy to make.  La Salade Nicoise.  There are so many variations on it, however, I used the easy way out with canned tuna vs a nice fresh grilled tuna.   I had some colorful purple potatoes, which added nicely to the presentation.  I also cooked some eggs, I usually calculate 2 per person.  The best way to make a hard-boiled egg is to place the eggs in a pot, covered with cold water.  Once the eggs boil, take them off the stove and cover for 20 minutes, that’s all it takes and you will have perfect hard-boiled eggs, as opposed to exploding eggs or whatever I used to get in the past.  I also steamed a bunch of green beans.  It is important not to over cook the green beans. Once they are cooked, plunge them into cold water to stop cooking and preserve the green color.   For the lettuce, I used an organic baby green mix as well as some romaine lettuce to give it a nice balance of crunch and texture.  I’m not sure if I added any cucumbers or tomatoes, it doesn’t look like it from the photo, but they would go nicely had I had some.

Basically the most important ingredients for a Nicoise are:

Hardboiled eggs-2 per person, Canned or fresh tuna, a bunch of steamed, cold green beans, boiled potatoes, about one or two per person.

Once all the cooked ingredients were ready and cool.  I started to compile my salad.  I tossed the greens with the dressing ahead of time.  Placed it in nice bowls, added pieces of potato, egg slivers, black olives, green beans and then the tuna on top of it all. Try to make it as pretty as possible, symmetry is key in this dish for me.  But you can get creative and design it as you like.  If you don’t care, you can just toss everything together and voila, it’s done!  I like to add fresh pepper and a few grains of Sel de Cali.

vinaigrette:  1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar and chopped herbs or shallots.  Make sure you first mix the mustard and oil together then add the vinegar.  It really helps the thickness of the dressing.  This is my base vinaigrette that can have many different variations and alterations.  Go with taste


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