I’m not a salad kind of guy (way to start off a salad post). I’m more of a bacon, mayo, sunny eggs, rare steaks and anchovies kinda guy but it’s spring time, basically salad season. I don’t hate them either, I just don’t think they’re as exciting to prep as so many other things but they happen to be fun and quick and deliver lots of flavour and satisfaction. Nicoise Salad is no exception. It contains 2 of the main building blocks of my food addiction. Two important ones too.
If it has eggs, there’s potential. If it also contains anchovies then done deal. That’s how I feel about this salad and a few other things in life. Now if f I actually had it my way (which I totally could, there’s a jar in the fridge) I’d smother this damn thing in mayo. But not tonight. Tonight I’ll stick to the standard presentation. At least the one I know. The one I grew up with I guess.
Btw, salads are as good as their dressing (…and the freshness of the produce yes I know, you smart ass). Making a vinaigrette is an art and should be fine-tuned to your taste. A few guidelines? well… more oil than acid should probably be a rule but I’m no vinaigrette police. Mustard adds flavor but it also helps stabilizing the emulsion (emulsion=fat and water happily dancing together sort of)… I only use a little bit because the taste can be overpowering and I actually rather have the vinegar/oil be the star in my salads (like I make them that often). You only just need a little bit to help the emulsification take place and let me get my thick reading glasses now. Salt and pepper to taste…always. And last but not least…use your HANDS. I don’t know… it’s weird.. you could use a fork or a wooden spoon… but there’s something about tossing a salad with your own hands. Pride over micromanagement and control? probably, but it tastes awesome. Anyways, here’s there recipe.
- 8-10 salted anchovies from a can. (in oil)
- 20 cherry tomatoes
- 1 12 oz can of tuna. in water or oil. your choice (I prefer oil)
- 20-30 nicoise olives if you're lucky (Kalamata are easier to find)
- 4 hardboiled eggs. Cold.
- 8 or so leaves of your favorite lettuce. I chose butter. Cabbage can be a little too tough.
- 1/2 Tbsp your favorite sharp vinegar
- 2 Tbsp of y our favorite extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp of dijon mustard
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt (to taste really)
- 1/4 tsp black pepper (to taste really)
- get everything ready.
- hard boil you eggs and dump them in cold icy water
- cut the tomatoes in halves.
- get those plates ready
- make the vinaigrette
- dress all the veggies in it
- reserve some of the vinaigrette to pour over the eggs
- cut the eggs in half
- cut the olives in half (hopefully you got pitted ones, otherwise, pit them yourself)
- time to get that tuna out of that can. Drain it.
- plate everything and make it look pretty
- pepper it
- If you happen to have fresh tuna. You could sear it or serve it raw if it's super fresh (sushi quality as they say). If you serve it raw... you can t mince it and add a little lemon juice to cut the fat a bit. Anyways, tuna is fun and there are many ways you can present it. I chose canned tuna for this one though.