A Cool Meal for a Hot Day

Nicoise Salade

Some days it is just too damn hot and humid to cook or grill, so what do you do? An ample, cool salad comes to mind… So on a recent sweltering 95 degree day, I made my version of the classic Salade Nicoise (in the style of Nice, France), typically composed of tomatoes, tuna, hard-boiled eggs, olives and anchovies, dressed with a vinaigrette. It is served variously on a plate, platter, or in a bowl, with or without a bed of lettuce, and the tuna may be cooked or canned.

salad.platter2

In a few short days we were leaving for a week’s vacation so part of my plan was to use up as much fresh produce as I could; this included mixed greens, carrots, grape tomatoes, and green beans. Our household inventory also included some left over green olives (usually black nicoise olives are used), canned white albacore tuna packed in water, small red skinned potatoes, and eggs. The night prior, I hard-boiled four eggs, trimmed and blanched the green beans, and boiled the baby red potatoes, eliminating any need to use a heat source the next day.

After cutting everything down to bite-size pieces and arranging on a large platter, I lightly sprinkled on fresh-cut chives from our herb garden. When Russ got home he made a mediterranean vinaigrette dressing (recipe follows) which we drizzled over our self-served plates. Satisfying and light, this was a perfect compliment for dining on a hot summer’s day.

There was plenty left over for both of us to lunch on the next day, being careful to store the additional vinaigrette in separate small travel containers. Feel free to experiment and use whatever veggies and/or herbs you have on hand.

plate.of.salad

Vinaigrette Dressing:

  • 2 anchovy filets, drained
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2-1 tsp. dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbs. capers, rinsed
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Put the anchovies, lemon juice and dijon mustard in a small container using an immersion blender (or mini-blender), puree until smooth. Slowly drizzle in olive oil until completely blended. Finally, by hand, mix in capers and salt and pepper and pour into serving container.

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