31 July 2011

Salad Nicoise

There is nothing better in the summer than eating outdoors. Because of the warm temperatures of summer our bodies physically require less food, which is a perfect excuse for a salad. Coincidentally, this is when the lighter vegetables of a salad are in season. Nature is perfect isn't she? One of my favorite salads is Salad Nicoise. Usually at any restaurant it's on the higher price end of the spectrum. Therefore, my challenge was to make this salad in its savory traditional form at a cost effective price. Did I ever achieve that.
This Salad Nicoise cost a total of $13.48. This price includes the Balsamic Vinaigrette to top the salad off. However, it does not include the eggs which we already had, and the onion. For fairness sake I would tack on another $3.00 - $4.00...still bringing this French dish to approximately $17.00.

To cut on cost I added canned tuna instead of seared fresh tuna. But if cost is not a concern then the seared tuna is preferred. Then add a nice french baguette and a bottle of red wine to complete the course. There is nothing more lovely than the colorful Salad Nicoise against the backdrop of a nice summer evening and family.

If you're interested however, the real traditional French Salad Nicoise is not made this way. This recipe is more the traditional American interpretation of the Salad Nicoise. To learn the true French version visit David Lebovitz's Blog.
Salad Nicoise
Serves 4

1 Head Lettuce
1 lbs Red Potatoes
6 Eggs boiled
1 lbs Green Beans
.3 lbs Kalamata Olives
1 container Grape Tomatoes
2 4 oz cans Tuna in Water
Balsamic Vinaigrette 

In a pot boil the Potatoes until soft. In another pot boil the Eggs until thoroughly cooked (to learn best how to boil potatoes and eggs go here to my Tips and Hints page).

While the potatoes and eggs are boiling, slice the Grape Tomatoes and Kalamata Olives lengthwise. Cut a small portion of each end of the green beans off, and rinse in a colander (you have the option to boil, or stir fry the green beans and let them cool before placing them in the salad-as oppose to eating them raw).

Once the Potatoes and Eggs cooked, place the Eggs and Potatoes (separately) in a colander under cold running water for about 1 minute. Remove the Eggs and Potatoes from the water. Peal off the shell of the Eggs.  Let the Potatoes and Eggs sit at room temperature for approximately 30 minutes. 

When the Eggs are room temperature, slice them lengthwise in quarters. When the potatoes are room temperature cube the potatoes. 

Open and drain the two cans of Tuna, and place in a small serving bowl. 

Peel 2 large leafs of Lettuce, rinse and place on each person's plate. You can either put all the ingredients of the salad on each persons plate, placing a spoonful of tuna in the center of the salad. Or you can serve the salad ingredients buffet style as presented in the picture above. 

When complete, drizzle the Balsamic Vinaigrette on the salad according to taste.



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