Sunday, June 17, 2012

Salad Nicoise & Rainy Day Cooking

We had planned a bike ride but woke up to a cool southern rainy morning. So instead of hitting the road on our bikes we decided to go ahead and pre-prep some of our meals for the week. This saves us time during the week and makes getting dinner on the table a little faster.

So PJ’s and cooking it was. Whenever both of us are in the kitchen together I like to think that it’s like a well-directed and blocked play. We move as one, gracefully through our kitchen from one activity to the next. However, it’s not quite so graceful and it’s messy, very messy. We’re normally preparing 3-6 dishes or some aspect of those dishes. Cleaning up is my job and there is always a lot of clean up.

Had to share my hydrangeas! Aren't they gorgeous? These are in my dinning room and I love walking in and seeing them. Such a beautiful shade of blue.

For lunch we stopped the madness for a delicious salad that was supposed to be a picnic salad on the bike ride. Even without the ride this salad was amazing!

Last month I talked about Nice, France and it's close proximity to Italy in our Pan Bagnat Post. If you haven't read that one you should! I also talked about exploring this region a little more and this recipe happened to fit the bill very nicely!

Basically this is the French version of the chopped salad. Salad Nicoise (pronounced niˈswaz) has lots of yummy ingredients and is a lot of fun to eat because each bite is a little different. It's also very forgiving, we substituted and added things we had on hand. It was really delicious and worked even on the back porch while listening to rain.

After the cooking and cleaning madness, which really isn’t so bad, we relaxed on the back porch for the rest of the day. The Other Williams playing guitar and me editing photos and surfing pinterest. It never got above 70 degrees, which in the south in June, is pretty much unheard of. Even though a little work was involved overall it was a really relaxing day.

Salad Nicoise
Serves 4-6

**We made a full batch of the vinaigrette but only used about half on this salad. We saved the rest in the fridge for other salads.
1/2 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium shallot, minced
1 Tbsp minced fresh thyme leaves
2 Tbsp minced fresh basil leaves
2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano leaves
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 grilled or otherwise cooked tuna steaks* (8 oz each) or 2-3 cans of tuna
6 hard boiled eggs, peeled and either halved or quartered
10 small new red potatoes (each about 2 inches in diameter, about 1 1/4 pounds total), each potato scrubbed and quartered
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 medium heads Boston lettuce or butter lettuce, leaves washed, dried, and torn into bite-sized pieces
3 small ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into eighths
1 small red onion, sliced very thin
8 ounces green beans, stem ends trimmed and each bean halved crosswise
1/4 cup niçoise olives
2 Tbsp capers, rinsed and/or several anchovies (optional)

*Marinate tuna steaks in a little olive oil for an hour. Heat a large skillet on medium high heat, or place on a hot grill. Cook the steaks 2 to 3 minutes on each side until cooked through.
1 Whisk lemon juice, oil, shallot, thyme, basil, oregano, and mustard in medium bowl; season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.
2 Bring potatoes and 4 quarts cold water to boil in a large pot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and cook until potatoes are tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer potatoes to a medium bowl with a slotted spoon (do not discard boiling water). Toss warm potatoes with 1/4 cup vinaigrette; set aside.
3 While potatoes are cooking, toss lettuce with 1/4 cup vinaigrette in large bowl until coated. Arrange bed of lettuce on a serving platter (I used two serving platters, shown in the photos). Cut tuna into 1/2-inch thick slices, coat with vinaigrette. Mound tuna in center of lettuce. Toss tomatoes, red onion, 3 tablespoons vinaigrette, and salt and pepper to taste in bowl; arrange tomato-onion mixture on the lettuce bed. Arrange reserved potatoes in a mound at edge of lettuce bed.
4 Return water to boil; add 1 tablespoon salt and green beans. Cook until tender but crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain beans, transfer to reserved ice water, and let stand until just cool, about 30 seconds; dry beans well. Toss beans, 3 tablespoons vinaigrette, and salt and pepper to taste; arrange in a mound at edge of lettuce bed.
5 Arrange hard boiled eggs, olives, and anchovies (if using) in mounds on the lettuce bed. Drizzle eggs with remaining 2 tablespoons dressing, sprinkle entire salad with capers (if using), and serve immediately.


  1. Delightful post and I'm such a fan of this salad, having lived in France for 7 years, we ate it frequently. Thanks for linking this delicious post up with us at Seasonal Celebration Sunday! Rebecca x

  2. The dish looks great and I also love the picture of the flowers.

  3. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!

  4. I love a reliable vinaigrette mix. You'll never know when you'll gonna need one. Keeping the page bookmarked. Thanks!


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