I cannot let a summer pass without making a big Salade Nicoise at least once. The timing of a Salade Nicoise depends on just one thing... whether or not my green beans are ready. WELL... they're ready!
I plant two beans each spring. One is a bush, French Haricot Verts -- the thinnest of green beans -- and the bean that I use in my Salade Nicoise. I always plant two beds from seed with their rectangular plots surrounded by 20-inch-tall bamboo fencing to keep hungry rabbits out.
This year I planted one bed of the Haricot Verts in mid-April, followed by a second planting three weeks later. But I've come to realize I should have waited even longer. Both beds are going gangbusters right now. And in addition to the Haricot Verts, the heirloom purple pole beans I planted this spring are coming on with a vengeance as well. Needless to say... we will be eating a lot of beans this week at my house!
Too bad these beautiful purple beans turn green once thrown into a pan of boiling water.
This is a fantastic recipe for Salad Nicoise. Get some really good bread and salted butter, pour yourself a glass of Provencal Rosé and enjoy a long, leisurely al fresco meal this summer!
• Salade Nicoise
adapted from a recipe in The New Basics Cookbook
by Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins
Recipe adjusted to feed 6 to 8 people
• 16 new potatoes
• 1 pound haricot verts, trimmed, or if using regular green beans trimmed and halved lengthwise
• 6 cans (4 1/2 ounces) tuna (packed in olive oil), drained
• 8 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
• 4 tablespoons tiny capers, drained
• 7 tablespoons, plus 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
• 7 tablespoons, plus 1 teaspoon mild extra-virgin olive oil
• Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
• 2 generous tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
• 1 cloves minced garlic
• Coarse (kosher) salt, to taste
• 4 cups grape tomatoes, halved
• 4 tablespoons parsley, chopped
• 8 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and halved
• 1/2 cup Nicoise olives
1. Preheat oven to 350˚ F.
2. Prick the potatoes with the tines of a fork, and place them in a baking dish. Bake for 1 hour, or until tender. Set aside to cool.
3. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil and add the beans. Simmer until just tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain. Wrap in a dish towel and set aside.
4. Place the tuna in a mixing bowl, and break it into large chunks. Add the red onion, capers, 4 tablespoons of the lemon juice, 1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon of the olive oil, and pepper. Toss gently until well-combined and set aside.
5. Cut the cooked potatoes into 1/4-inch-thick slices, and place them in a mixing bowl. Add 4 tablespoons of the olive oil, 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice, rosemary, garlic, pepper, and coarse salt. Toss to combine, and set aside.
6. Place the halved grape tomatoes in a bowl. Sprinkle with pepper, coarse salt, and the parsley.
7. Just before you are ready to serve, toss the beans with the remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 2 teaspoons olive oil. Season with coarse salt.
8. Arrange tomatoes, tuna, potatoes, and green beans on a large platter. Place hard boiled eggs throughout and toss Nicoise olives over the top.
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