Monday, 18 April 2011

Salade Niçoise

Salade Niçoise must be one of the best known salads in France. It is as beautiful as the region of Côte d'Azur (“Azure coast”) where the salad originated. It is a perfect starter for any dinner party because it has something for everyone. Different textures, flavours and aromas come together in a perfect blend of colour and taste. Over the years, Salade Niçoise has adopted many variations of preparation but no matter which ingredients you add or take out, it always tastes amazing. Here is something you can do to add an additional layer of flavour to your Salade Niçoise. Rub the plate with a halved clove of garlic before plating your salad. It will give your salad a delicately piquant touch.


Vinaigrette: 1/2 cup lemon juice, 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 1 medium shallot, minced, 1 Tbsp minced fresh thyme leaves, 2 Tbsp minced fresh basil leaves, 2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano leaves, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Salad: 2-3 cans of tuna in oil, 6 hard boiled eggs, peeled and either halved or quartered, 10 small new red potatoes, 2 medium heads Boston lettuce or butter lettuce, leaves washed, dried, and torn into bite-sized pieces, 3 small ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into eighths,1 small red onion, sliced very thin, 8 ounces green beans, stem ends trimmed and each bean halved crosswise, 1/4 cup niçoise olives, 2 Tbsp capers, rinsed and/or several anchovies.


Whisk lemon juice, oil, shallot, thyme, basil, oregano, and mustard in medium bowl; season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside. Bring potatoes and 4 quarts cold water to boil in a large pot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and cook until potatoes are tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer potatoes to a medium bowl with a slotted spoon (do not discard boiling water). Toss warm potatoes with 1/4 cup vinaigrette; set aside. While potatoes are cooking, toss lettuce with 1/4 cup vinaigrette in large bowl until coated. Arrange bed of lettuce on a serving platter. Mound tuna in center of lettuce. Toss tomatoes, red onion, 3 tablespoons vinaigrette, and salt and pepper to taste in bowl; arrange tomato-onion mixture on the lettuce bed. Arrange reserved potatoes in a mound at edge of lettuce bed. Return water to boil; add 1 tablespoon salt and green beans. Cook until tender but crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain beans, transfer to reserved ice water, and let stand until just cool, about 30 seconds; dry beans well. Toss beans, 3 tablespoons vinaigrette, and salt and pepper to taste; arrange in a mound at edge of lettuce bed. Arrange hard boiled eggs, olives, and anchovies (if using) in mounds on the lettuce bed. Drizzle eggs with remaining 2 tablespoons dressing, sprinkle entire salad with capers (if using), and serve immediately.

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