Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Salade Nicoise (France)

Last week, before my Mom, niece, and nephew arrived for a visit, the temperature here soared and it was just too darn hot to cook. I thought, this is the perfect opportunity to do Salade Nicoise ... one of my favorite summertime salads. I've seen millions of Salade Nicoise recipes and prefer my honey-dijon dressing concoction with mine so I'm not claiming this to be a perfectly authentic salad ... but great and hearty for a summertime meal. As with most salads, the ingredients need not be measured in my opinion but do choose the freshest ingredients you can find ... so here is my rough recipe.

Salade Nicoise

2 fresh tuna steaks, I prefer two thin sliced filets (1/2 " thickness)
1 head butter lettuce
fresh green beans, couple of handfuls
4-6 small new potatoes, peeled
1/2 large or 1 small cucumber, peeled and sliced thin
3-4 radishes, sliced thin
4-6 cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 eggs, soft cooked (free range, if possible)
Nicoise olives, couple fingers full

My honey-dijon dressing

1 T. dijon mustard
2 T. white wine vinegar
1 clove of garlic, cracked with the back of a knife
1 t. honey
6 T. evo oil

Combine the mustard, vinegar, and honey with a whisk. While whisking, gradually add the oil in a thin steady stream to emulsify and create a medium thick vinaigrette. Add the cracked garlic clove and allow to sit for 20-30 minutes. Remove the garlic clove and give it a quick whisk. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Prepping and assembling salad:
Clean and prep all your veggies (lettuce through tomatoes).

Brush both sides of tuna steaks with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Soft boil your eggs by putting the eggs in a saucepan of cold water with an inch covering them and bring to a boil. When boiling, remove pan from heat and put top on. Let eggs sit in the hot water for 2-5 minutes (the longer they sit in the hot water bath, the more cooked your yolk will be, obviously). Try not to overcook your eggs, you want a bright yellow center.

Steam the potatoes for 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of potatoes. Add your green beans to the steamer when there is roughly 5-7 minutes left on the potatoes. Season cooked veggies with salt, to taste.

Grill tuna steaks for roughly 2 minutes per side. Do not overcook your tuna ... overcooked tuna is dry as a bone. The center should be a nice pink to red color (depending on your preference of rare-ness). It is very important to buy as fresh of tuna steaks as possible. Once cooked, slice your tuna steaks with the grain.

To assemble salad: spread torn lettuce leaves on your plate and dress lightly with some dressing, to taste. Lay your veggies in nice stacks around the edge of the lettuce bed. Drizzle with some dressing. Lay your sliced tuna across top of lettuce bed. Garnish with your nicoise olives. Serve immediately.


wirrek said...

My mom wanted me to say thanks for providing the inspiration for dinner tonight. She has always wanted to try this salad. And both my parents loved the Thai lime beef salad.

Robin said...

Ah, great! I love this salad and if you don't mind some prep work ... it comes together quickly in the end. Bon Apetit!

Anonymous said...

I really did love this salad, but could not find the olives. What are nicoise olives?