05 June 2011

French Cuisine - Salad Niçoise

Salad Niçoise

Think salad means a bland bowl of greens? Not with this recipe, Niçoise salad is so full of scrumptious finds! It is a mixed salad consisting of various vegetables topped with tuna and anchovy. It is a healthful and complete meal that needs only a crunchy baguette to round it out.

Choose your tomatoes carefully, preferably vine-ripened fruit and not the pale imitations that have been stored in supermarket refrigerators.

Be warn, this is a lengthy process as we prepared our own dressing. You will have to spend quite a bit if you don't have all the sauces available. But you won't regret because the sauce is OHLALA.

You can prepare the salad ingredients and dressing in the morning and refrigerate, then combine and serve for dinner. The dressing can also prepare in advance and kept in the fridge for a few days and up to a week if the herbs are not mix into the dressing.

Recipe: French Cuisine - Salad Niçoise
Serves: 6

Ingredients for Salad:
• 3 cups green beans, blanched
• 3 tomatoes, quartered (i use baby cherry tomatoes)
• 1 cup vinaigrette
• 1 head Boston lettuce (couldn't find this, replace with butterhead)
• 3 cups cold french potato salad (see recipe below)
• 1 cup canned tuna, drained
• ½ cup pitted black olives, preferably the drt Meditteranean type
• 2 hard-boiled eggs, quartered
• 6 anchovy fillets, drained
• 2 tbsp free green herbs (parsely, chives, basil)

Method for Salad:
1. Just before serving, season the beans & tomatoes with several spoonfuls of the vinaigrette.

2. Toss the lettuce leaves in the salad bowl with ¼ cup of vinaigrette & place the leaves around the edge of the bowl.

3. Arrange the potatoes in the bottom of the bowl.

4. Decorate with the beans & tomatoes, interspersing them with a design of tuna chunks, olive, eggs & anchovies.

5. Pour the remaining dressing over the salad, sprinkle with herbs & serve.

Recipe: French Potatoe Salad
Serves: 6

Ingredients for French Potato Salad:
• 2 pounds boiling potatoes (i use new potatoes)
• 4 tbsp dry white wines (or 2 tbsp vermouth + 2 tbsp stock)
• 2 tbsp minced shallots, or green onions (optional)
• 1 recipe vinaigrette, with herbs (see recipe below)

Method for French Potato Salad:
1. Scrub the potatoes. Drop them in boling salted water to cover & boil till the potatoes are just tender when pierced with a small knife.

2. Drain, as soon as they are cool enough to handle, peel & cut them into slices about ⅛ inch thick. Place them in a mixing bowl.

3. Pour the wine (or vermouth + stock) over the potatoe slices and toss very gently. Set aside for a few minutes until the potatos have absorbed the liquids.

4. Stir in the shallots or green onions (if using). Pour the vinaigrette over the potatoes and toss gentle to blend.

Note: The salad is prepared while the potatoes boiled, slice them when they are still warm, so they will absord the dressing. The salad may be eaten warm or cold. Mayonnaise may be folded into the potatoes if you wish. Lastly, be sure to use potatoes which may be boiled & sliced without crumbling.

Recipe: French Dressing (Sauce Vinaigrette)
Serves: 6

Ingredients for French Dressing:
• 2 tbsp white wine vinegar (or a mixture of vinegar & lemon juice)
• ⅛ tsp salt
• ¼ tsp mustard, optional
• 6 tbsp olive oil, or salad oil
• 2 tbsp minced green herbs such as parsely, chives, basil, tarragong (optional)

Method for French Dressing (Sauce Vinaigrette):
1. Either beat the vinegar or lemon juice in a bowl with the salt & mustard until the salt is dissolved, then beat in the oil by droplets & seaon with pepper, or place all ingredients in a screw-top jar and shake vigorously for 30seconds to blend thoroughly.

2. Stir in the optional herbs & correct seasoning just before dressing the salad (skip this step if you intend to fridge the dressing for few days).

Note: The basic French dressing of France is a mixture of good wine vinegar, good oil, salt & pepper, fresh green herbs in season & mustard if you like. Garlic is empoyed in southern France - anything else is hersey. The usual proportion of vinegar to oil is one to three.

Recipe inspired by: Julia Child of Coriander from Shela

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