Deconstructed salad Niçoise
|March 29, 2010||Posted by ameliaps under fish, French, salads, summer, tuna|
Even preparing salad Niçoise brings me thoughts of biking along the Seine, walking the streets of Paris, sitting at a brasserie, singing and seeing “la vie en rose“, buying a print by Toulouse-Lautrec or a photo by Doisneau, listening to jazz in the metro, seeing the Venus of Milo, the Mona Lisa and the Nike of Samothrace at the Louvre, sipping a cafe at the Les Deux Magots in Saint-Germain-des-Prés and tasting pastries at Fauchon… and more.
Well, that’s the beauty of “virtual culinary travel”: you can go places in your memory and in your imagination through the magic of taste bud tele-portation :)
So if on a Monday night you are feeling like you need a ticket to Paris, just make this salad and uncork a Beaujolais. Bon voyage!
And btw, I call this deconstructed for two reasons. First, the salad is not tossed together and all individual components of food stand their own, being arranged separately on the plate, for individual savoring, coming together only in the mouth. Second, because it becomes a de-construction of memories and imagination in your mind. Small pieces scattered around your plate will be imaginary mementos or separate tickets to a place in France you wish you could visit one day.
You can make this salad as complex and rich as you wish, but the basic elements should be there: a vinaigrette (I like mine with olive oil, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, scallions, and a touch of anchovies), tuna (I like mine in olive oil – the one in water tastes like NOTHING), haricots vert (green beans), boiled eggs, tomatoes, boiled potatoes, and of course Nicoise olives. You can (alternatively to canned) also use fresh (sashimi grade) tuna which you would sear then slice: it is definitively a different flavor than canned (but I tend to like the canned for this salad!). I like to serve my salad on Romaine lettuce and I add capers for saltiness, sliced raw onions for zing, and a few cubes of Emmenthal or Swiss cheese. I also season my boiled potato slices separately and season them with some olive oil, parsley, salt and pepper (to make them less bland). I have everyone serve themselves to a mix of their favorite ingredients. I pour the vinaigrette in a squeeze bottle for easier serving (and a pretty look!). Bon Appétit!!!
Deconstructed salad Niçoise
1 Romain salad, large, washed and dried
1 pound fresh green beans, ends trimmed, blanched (boiled then tossed in ice water)
2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, washed and halved
1 onion, thinly sliced
12 ounces (2 cans) olive-oil-packed tuna, drained and flaked
4 boiled potato (about 1 per person), sliced thick, seasoned with oil, chopped parsley, S&P
4 hard-boiled eggs (about 1 per person), quartered, sprinkled with salt
1/2 cup black olives (Nicoise are best)
1/4 cup capers (I like the salt packed kind, rinsed)
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
Right before serving, line your serving platter with the romaine lettuce leaves, which will serve as the base.
Arrange all the prepared ingredients on the platter, separated.
Serve with the dressing and allow everyone to choose they favorites.
Pass around the vinaigrette (in a squeeze bottle).
2 to 3 anchovy filets packed in oil, rinsed
juice of 1 lemon (2 Tbsp.)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium shallot, minced
2 tsp minced tarragon or parsley
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt (~1/2 tsp) and freshly ground black pepper (~1/4 tsp)
Prepare the dressing. In a medium bowl, mash the anchovies with a fork into a paste. Add the rest of the ingredients and shake well to emulsify the vinaigrette. Taste. If you think it needs more “zing” add some balsamic vinegar. If you want it creamier, add more mustard.