Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Salade niçoise

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that Genova Tonno, the tuna packed in olive oil, makes a nice salade niçoise. Well, here it is. This is a last-minute kind of meal that you assemble out of stuff you happen to have. The cucumbers and olives were from Trader Joe's in Chicago, the tomatoes and green beans were from this farmer's market, where I took the kid this morning, and the rest of the ingredients were from the supermarket.

I like to present it with each ingredient in its own pile so that each person takes as much or as little of each one as they like. I cooked the beans and potatoes in the boil-and-shock method and the eggs as follows: I placed them in a saucepan with cold water to cover, brought it to a full boil, killed the heat, and let them sit in the hot water for 8 minutes before shocking them in an ice bath. They're perfect this way, without any of that gross smell and crumbly texture you get in yolks cooked at a full-on boil for too long.

And now another recipe:

1 small shallot, minced
kosher salt and pepper
1 tsp dijon mustard
a few drizzles of red wine vinegar
twice to three times as many drizzles of extra virgin olive oil

Place the shallot, salt, pepper, vinegar, and mustard in a bowl and whisk to combine. Let it sit for a few minutes, then drizzle in the oil while whisking to emulsify.

I dressed some greens in a little bit of vinaigrette, then arranged all of the other ingredients as you see above, then drizzled some more vinaigrette over each of the little piles. I also made sure to salt the tomatoes, eggs, and cukes after cutting them up. Some might add red or green onions but I have a rule: no more than one member of the allium family per salad. If it has shallot, that's your one.

I've only been to Nice for an afternoon, but I'm guessing that the folks there would think that my salad is ok. We ate it with some crusty bread and butter.


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