Friday, June 18, 2010
What a bountiful week!
Here's what Farmer John had for us in Silver Lake this week:
Red & golden beets
Curly green kale (pictured below)
And here's what Tara and Danielle brought down from McGrath Family Farm, certified organic growers in Camarillo:
Spring onions (that's what Danielle is holding below)
Green string beans
When I saw the beautiful strings beans at the CSA pick-up this week, I thought Salade Nicoise. I learned to make Salade Nicoise in 1977 in a class on the regional foods and wines of France. In that class, our Salade Nicoise was built on a base of blanched string beans, boiled potatoes, and butter lettuce. It also had oil-packed, canned tuna, anchovies, olives, red onion, tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, and fresh parsley all in a Dijon mustard vinaigrette.
Since then, I've enhanced my recipe with the addition of capers, fresh basil, and lemon juice; and I've embraced the California version using fresh, seared Ahi tuna, at least some of the time.
Over the years, I've eaten many Nicoise salads and I've seen other ingredients included such as fresh or roasted red peppers; mixed greens, especially arugula, instead of or in addition to butter lettuce; and balsamic vinegar dressings.
Here's a nice blueprint for this lovely composed salad. Don't sweat it if you don't have (or don't like) all the ingredients, it's a wonderful full-meal salad however you make it.
2 C loosely packed butter lettuce or mixed greens
1/4 lb small or thin string beans, blanched and cooled
4 smallish new potatoes, boiled until just tender and cooled
1 can oil-packed tuna
1 medium tomato,sliced lengthwise into 6-8 sections
2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and quartered
1-2 T thinly sliced red onion
8-10 black Nicoise olives, or more to taste
4 canned anchovy fillets, or more to taste
1 T capers, or more to taste
1 T chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 T chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste
For the Dressing:
3 T extra virgin olive oil
1 T wine or cider vinegar
1 T fresh-squeezed lemon juice, or more to taste
1-2 t prepared Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
1. Briskly mix together all the ingredients for the dressing until emulsified. Set aside.
2. Wash and dry the lettuces and/or greens. Break into bite-sized pieces. Toss with 1-2 T of the dressing. Arrange dressed greens on 2 plates.
3. Toss the blanched string beans with 1 t of the dressing and arrange half the beans in a small stack on each plate.
4. Slice the potatoes and fan out half the slices on each plate. Drizzle with a few drops of dressing.
5. Drain and flake the tuna. Divide among the 2 plates.
6. Arrange half the tomato sections and one quartered hard-boiled egg on each of the 2 plates.
7. Scatter the finely sliced onion, olives, and capers among the 2 plates. Drape 2 anchovy fillets on each plate. Sprinkle with the chopped herbs, salt and pepper to taste, and drizzle with the remaining dressing.
If you don't have Nicoise olives, you can substitute Kalamata olives or dried black olives. If you like your salads more heavily dressed, double the dressing recipe.