Tuesday, April 21, 2009
I am so lucky my kids love salad. We eat them regularly for dinner with a nice crusty baguette or ciabatta. As a child I was fortunate enough to spend my summers in the South of France. My grandmother's house in Cannes was my summer home. There I lived at the beach. We had our own reserved place at Bijou Plage on the Croisette. We would get there just after our Petite Dejeuner and stay there all day until it was time to go home, wash up and get ready for dinner. Unless my grandmother was hosting one of her fabulously elegant dinner parties we all ate together. I never ate a "children's menu" and because of this my children don't either. They have their likes and dislikes, but for the most part they are wonderful and healthy eaters. So I can get away with salad for dinner. Especially when they are filled with all sorts of goodies that they like.
We eat a lot of Salad Nicoise in the warmer months. It's fresh, light and so flavorful!
The salad hails originally from Nice, France. And while now it's all fancied up with grilled tuna or salmon, the proper and original way to serve it is with canned tuna. In fact many chefs vehemently object to using fresh fish in Nicoise! (Admittedly, I do like to fancy it up myself when I make it for company!)
I do vary mine as well depending on what ingredients I have. So you may feel free to do the same!
3 heads of Romaine cleaned and placed on the bottom of a large serving plate or platter. (I do cut the lettuce for my children)
2 tomatoes, cut in wedges, about 6 to 8 wedges per tomato
A generous handful of Nicoise olives (I use pitted kalamata olives)
2 Cans of tuna drained
3 eggs, sliced
A handful of new potatoes, boiled and quartered
Anchovies, optional -- but they really do add a ton of flavor
A generous handful of cooked green beans, haricots vert are best if you can find them
I did not have tomatoes so I used sliced red peppers and my kids love cucumber so cucumber always works itself into our version!
Arrange all your ingredients on a plate so that the presentation appeals to the diner as much as the flavors do. Pour desired amount of dressing over the salad and serve immediately!
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1/2 tablespoon minced shallot
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Place all ingredients in a mason jar and shake well. (Keeps nicely for up to a week or so. No need for refrigeration)