Salade Niçoise

Salade Niçoise: a french treat with tuna and anchovies

Here’s a delicious and colorful salad that makes a whole meal… and it’s perfect to make with your fresh vegetables on a warm summer day.

There are a number variations of the Niçoise Salad, common in its namesake city, Nice, France, and along the rest of the Côte d’Azur, where I first enjoyed it.
Apparently it became popular in the states because of Julia Child.

Last night, in anticipation of this salad, my companion and I biked around our city to procure vegetables from the yard and from a little farmers’ market (4-7pm!).  After a nice summer evening’s ride with a short stop for live music and visiting friends, we prepared our ginormous Niçoise salad from these ingredients (for 4 meal-sized servings):

  • romaine and other leaf lettuce, torn to bite sized
  • Nasturtium leaves, chopped
  • fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • fresh parsley, chopped
  • scallion greens, from 2 scallions, finely cut
  • green beans, 1 pound, blanched (we substituted some nice Dragon Tongue Beans that surprising lost their purple stripes when cooked)
  • ripe roma tomatoes, 3, quartered and coarsely chopped
  • eggs, 4, hard-boiled, and quartered
  • fingerling potatoes (~1/2 pound), boiled (e.g., with the eggs)
  • green olives, pitted
  • tuna, 1 can, partially drained of oil
  • anchovy, about 2/3 of one very small jar

Dressing ingredients:

  • balsamic vinegar, 1 T.
  • apple cider vinegar, ~1/8 cup
  • Dijon-style mustard, 1-2 T. (e.g., Grey Poupon Country Dijon)
  • honey, ~1 t., to taste
  • olive oil, 1-2 T.
  • water (sparingly, to dilute slightly if desired)
  • capers
  • salt & pepper, to taste if desired

Niçoise Salad

To serve, we tossed the cooked beans with dressing, and placed them atop the chopped lettuce on a large platter and arranged the other toppings, leaving the tuna and anchovies for last, and finally lightly drizzled the salad with the rest of the dressing and olive oil.

Salade Niçoise, plated

I enjoyed this both for dinner and my subsequent day’s lunch. :)

Give it a try and experinece this tasty sample of southern France, especially if you can find some beautilful vegetables in your garden or at your farmers’ market!

Update (June, 2013):

I made this again… this time with the traditional green (string) beans and used a combination of pimento-stuffed spanish olives and jalapeno-stuffed olives. Also, I used a spicier Dijon mustard (Trader Joe’s)… mmm, still awesome.

Salade Niçoise

Salade Niçoise

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Mediterranean White Fish Salad

Mediterranean White Fish Salad

I visted the farmers’ market this morning and found some nice romaine lettuce and slender green onions (amongst other things) and decided to make this quick salad for lunch – before, hopefully, heading out to the lake with some friends.

Ingredients, for the fish:

  • white fish filet (I used swai, from frozen; tilapia would be a good choice as well)
  • lemon juice
  • dill
  • mint leaves, finely chopped
  • rosemary
  • fennel seed
  • oregano
  • green onion, whites cut finely
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • kyopoolu (I used Trader Joe’s Red Pepper Spread;
    You can also find kyopoolu or avjar at Polish, Bulgarian, etc. delis or stores.)

Ingredients for the salad:

  • romaine lettuce
  • green onions, greens cut finely
  • kalamata olives
  • balsamic vinaigrette dressing
  • olive oil

To prepare:

Pat the filet mostly dry and coat liberally with all the spices, i.e., everything but the green onion and kyopoolu, as if you were making blackened fish, for instance.  In a cast iron or other skillet on medium high heat, pan fry the filet in olive oil.  When the fish is nearly done (flip to cook both sides), add the green onion to the hot pan and spread a teaspoon or two of kyopoolu on onse side of the filet, and flip that side down briefly.

Here, I served the fish filet atop a salad of the ingredients above, drizzled with some olive oil.

This was a tasty salad; I hope it inspires you to have a nice summertime lunches too. :)

Colorful Coconut Cream Curry

Colorful curry with carrot, red potato, broccoli, and coconut cream served with jasmine rice and raita

It’s been a few weeks since my last post, mostly because I’ve been making some old favorites that I’ve already posted and otherwise enjoying the nice weather and summertime.

Today’s post is a new off-the-top-of-my-head vegetable curry with a lot of color. I’ve done a number of indian and thai curries, but this one may be something of a haphazard fusion of the two, as I just chose my ingredients by whim.

Ingredients for the rice:

  • jasmine rice
  • cumin seed
  • bay leaves
  • cinnamon stick
  • hot curry powder
  • salt

Ingredients for the raita:

  • yogurt (I was lucky to have been given some homemade, from cow’s milk)
  • garlic, minced
  • carrot, julienned
  • green pepper, finely chopped
  • tomato, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
  • garam masala
  • saffron threads
  • salt

Ingredients for the curry:

  • canola oil
  • water
  • carrot, peeled and sliced
  • red potato, skins intact, small-diced
  • broccoli, bite-sized pieces, steamed
  • red onion, sliced (top to bottom) into thin strips
  • garlic, minced
  • habanero pepper, seeds and veins removed, finely minced
  • cumin seed
  • turmeric
  • garam masala
  • salt and pepper
  • coconut cream/milk
  • cilantro (chopped fresh or crushed dried)
  • thai bird peppers (one per serving)

I chose coconut cream for sweetness; you could substitute coconut milk (or even a yogurt) if you prefer.  Here’s one discussion of Coconut Milk vs. Cream.

Preparation:

First, to prepare the rice, I simply put the ingredients in a rice cooker and let it do its thing; afterwards I removed the cinammon stick and bay leaves and added them to the curry.

While the rice was cooking, I prepared the raita.  (Of course, if you want a vegan dish, you’ll have to skip the yogurt-based raita.)  Simply mix all the ingredients together, and let sit.  (This is also nice to make in advance, and refrigerate, as the flavors mellow and blend together.)

I prepared the curry in a 12 inch cast iron skillet; first toasting the cumin seed, then mixing the spices and oil, garlic, onion, hot peppers, and cooking the potatoes.  I added the sliced carrot later, as it was sliced thinner and would cook faster.  Add water occassionally as necessary to avoid sticking to the pan, and add the (separately steamed) broccoli and the coconut cream after the potatoes and carrot are cooked to suitably tender.

Coconut Cream Curry with raita and spiced jasmine rice.

I served the rice, curry, and raita sprinkled with some crushed dry cilantro leaf and a (cooked) whole red thai bird pepper.  (This hot pepper makes it easy for each diner to spice it up to their own taste.)

A colorful curry with rice and raita

That’s it! I hope this inspires some colorful cooking for you to share to likewise share with the wonderful people that color your life. :)

By the way, WordPress tells me this is my hundredth post!
(Now the money will start rollin’ in, right?)