With August beginning, harvest time in our garden's will start to enter, full swing. What can we do to start using some that bounty and use up the last of the spring greens? Why not turn to the south of France and make Salad Nichoise?
Large colander or Large Sieve
6 Serving bowls
1 medium potato
3 boiled eggs
30 green beans (or a 12 oz. can, if you don't have fresh)
1 small green bell pepper
2 small tomatoes
12 lettuce leaves
6 oz. canned tuna
12 anchovy fillets (optional)
18 pitted black olives (kalamata are my favorite)
salt (as required)
for the dressing
4 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 cup light olive oil
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper (to taste)
Drain the tuna, and place into a small bowl. Cover with milk and let soak while the rest of the preparations are made. Soaking the canned tuna in milk will remove the unpleasant “fishiness” so common with canned tuna.
If using fresh green beans, cut the ends off the green beans, and then cut them in small pieces, about 1 inch long. Prepare an ice bath by putting ice water into a large bowl. If using canned beans, drain the beans in a colander and rinse with cold water. Drain thoroughly.
Peel the potato in a bowl and cover with water to keep it from browning.
Fill a saucepan with water and bring it to a boil.
If using fresh green beans, add the beans and boil for about two minutes, until they have a bright green color. Using a slotted spoon, remove the green beans from the boiling water and transfer to the ice bath. Turn off the heat, but do not drain the water . We'll use this same water to cook potato. Remove the beans from the ice water and drain thoroughly.
Put the potato in water. Add additional hot water if you need to, to cover the potato. Return the water to a boil on hight heat, and then reduce heat to a simmer, about medium low. Boil the potato for a bout 15 to 20 minutes, until soft enough that you can easily insert a fork. Do not overcook or the potato will fall apart! Using a slotted spoon, remove the potato, draining off the water. Allow the potato to cool enough to handle. Cut in half, lengthwise, and then into 1/2-inch wide half-moon slices.
Cut the green pepper in half lengthwise. Remove the stem and seeds from the green pepper. Cut into thin strips, about 1/4-inch wide, across the pepper this time.
Remove the stem from the tomatoes and cut into 1/2-inch wedges.
Peel to boiled eggs and cut into 1/4-inch round slices.
Clean and rinse the lettuce and tear into small pieces.
Drain the milk from the tuna.
To make the dressing
Add a dash of salt and a dash of ground pepper to a bowl. Add the mustard and mix together. Whisk in the red wine vinegar. Slowly add the olive oil, whisking at you do, to create an emulsion. Repeat with the extra virgin olive oil.
To assemble the salad
Mentally divide each ingredient into 6 equal parts. You're going to assemble each serving into it's own bowl.
First, arrange the lettuce in the bowls. Add the potatoes and green peppers. Arrange the boiled egg and green beans attractively in the bowl. Put the tomatoes and anchovies (if using) on top and sprinkle of a few of the olives. Drizzle some of the dressing over the salad and serve immediately.
Makes 6 servings.
*Sieve Trick: If you have a large enough saucepan, you can put the beans into the sieve, and then put the sieve into the hot water, submerging the beans. It's the same process as deep-frying without the oil. Then, when the beans are done, you just pull out the sieve with the green beans still in it, let it drain a bit, and the immediately plunge the sieve into the ice water bath. This way, you don't have to fish around with a slotted spoon to get all the green beans.