Thursday, June 15, 2006

Recipe: Nicoise Salad

Here’s my version of Salad Nicoise. Its only one of many available & even though I think it’s reasonably authentic I’m sure there are plenty who would argue the ingredient list ferociously.

In any case we like it and as we are approaching full summer all of the ingredients are coming into their full glory.

Ingredients: for 8 hungry people.

4 red onions

1 red bell pepper

Pannier of cherry tomatoes (about ½ lb or 500g) a combo of red & yellow is nice if both are available.

1 lb (500 grams) green beans

1 lb (500 grams) new potatoes (nice small ones by preference. In France rattes are ideal; in the Uk Jersey’s)

8 eggs

Tin of anchovies, oil packed

3 medium tins of tuna, line caught & oil packed.

1/3 Lb of black Nicoise olives, pitted is nice, but you’ll probably have to do it yourself.

Vinaigrette (1 part Sherry vinegar to 4 parts olive oil. add 1 more part of Dijon mustard, a good dose of herbs de province, salt & pepper. Ajust to taste. Or use your own favorite recipe.)


1) Cut off the root end of the onions then peel. Slice very thinly across the layers, preferably with a mandolin, but can be done (very carefully) with a very sharp knife.
Toss the onion slices with your fingers so they separate into individual rings then place them along the center of an oval or round platter. Set aside.

2) Cut off the stem & veins of the red pepper, get rid of all seeds, then slice long ways to make a julienne about 1/4 “ wide (6 mm).
Set aside.

3) Make the Vinaigrette. Set aside.

4) Cut the cherries tomatoes in half. Set aside.

5) Boil the eggs until hard; about 6-8 minutes. When boiled put the pan under a cold water tap & cool them off. When cool carefully peel & cut into halves length ways. Set aside.

6) Top & tail the green beans. Place into boiling water, when the water comes back to the boil leave for 2 minutes before draining & plunging into cold water. (All this is to end up with beans that are still crunchy & bright green.) Set aside.

7) Scrub the potatoes well, but don’t peel. Cut into large bite sized chunks. (Leave the small ones whole.) Have half of you Vinaigrette ready. Boil the potatoes for about 15 minutes or until they seem soft enough when you stick the point of a knife into them. Remove from heat, drain & as soon as dry put into a bowl & pour the Vinaigrette over them. Toss gently to cover. Set aside.

8) Pit the olives, if necessary. Set aside.

9) Open the anchovy & tuna tins.

We are now ready to assemble the salad. Here’s how:

a) ‘Fluff up’ the onions in or along the center of the platter.

b) Upend the cans of tuna on top of the onions. Use the oil. Use a fork to get the tuna out of the can & too spread it over the onions a bit.

c) Spread the potatoes evenly around the edges of the onion.

d) Spread the green beans around on top of the potatoes.

e) Same with the tomatoes.

f) Same with the pepper.

g) Place the hard boiled eggs, cut side up, around the perimeter of the platter.

h) Put an anchovy fillet on each egg half.

i) Have a last look for appearances. It won’t alter the taste, but it may as well look pretty.

j) Finally, drizzle the rest of your Vinaigrette over the whole salad. If, like me, you love the anchovies you can also drizzle some of their oil over as well.

That’s it! Lots of steps, but all of them easy to do. Serve with good bread & a robust white wine.

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