Salad Nicoise

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A summer salad in the middle of winter?!  It works here in (mostly) sunny Southern California where we can get fresh vegetables year-round.  But even if you live in a colder climate, most of the ingredients in this salad (except the lettuce and tomatoes) can be obtained in the canned or frozen food section.   It’s a great break from all the casserole/soup-type dishes we typically make in the wintertime and it’s just a throw-together salad, no measuring except for the vinaigrette.  Make the portions as small or large as you like.

This is a great make-ahead meal.  I like to get all these ingredients ready when I have the time, and then seal them in separate bags/plastic sealed containers and put them in the fridge to await whenever I am ready to put the salad together.

SALAD INGREDIENTS

Fresh or frozen tuna steak (or, canned high-quality albacore tuna)

Fresh or frozen green beans

Eggs

Cherry or grape tomatoes (or any type of tomato)

Baby red potatoes (fresh or canned)

Canned anchovies (optional)

Red onion

Bibb or butter lettuce, torn into pieces

VINAIGRETTE INGREDIENTS

For each salad serving:

1 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 tsp dijon mustard

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS – SALAD

If using frozen tuna steak, thaw in refrigerator to room temperature overnight.  Salt and pepper fresh/thawed steak to taste.  Cook fresh or thawed steak in a pan sprayed with olive oil over medium high heat, for about 3 minutes per side,  searing each side and leaving the middle pink (or if you prefer, cooking about 5 minutes per side or until pink has disappeared).  Remove from pan and let tuna rest on a plate.

If using canned albacore tuna:  Drain tuna and set aside.

For fresh or frozen green beans and fresh potatoes:  Place potatoes in bottom of pan and fill with water until potatoes are covered by about an inch of water.  Salt the water (1/4 tsp or so) and bring water to boil over medium high heat.  Keep water at a boil until a knife can go most of the way through the potatoes, about 10 minutes for 4 or 5 potatoes.  Then drop in green beans and cook until beans are blanched (still have a snap to them), about 4 to 6 more minutes depending on how many green beans you have (frozen do not blanch as well, they will be softer).  Drain potatoes and green beans in a colander, rinse with cold water to stop them from cooking any further.

If you are using canned potatoes:  Drain potatoes and set aside.

Cooking just green beans:  Bring a small pot of salted water to boil, add green beans and cook until blanched (still have a snap to them), about 4 to 6 minutes depending on amount of green beans and if they were frozen (frozen do not blanch as well, they will be softer). Drain beans in a colander and rinse with cold water to stop them from cooking.

In a small to medium pot (depending on how many eggs you have) place eggs at bottom of pot and fill with enough cold water to cover eggs by about 3/4 of an inch.  Bring water to a boil over medium high heat.  When the water is at a rolling boil, turn off heat and cover pot with lid; let sit for 10 minutes.  Then drain water and run cold water over eggs until they are cool to the touch; cover with cold water and add ice to stop eggs from cooking.  When completely cool, pat eggs dry and peel shells.

Open and drain can of anchovies.

Cut potatoes, green beans and eggs into bite-sized pieces.

Dice desired amount of red onion.

Tear lettuce leaves into bite-sized pieces.

Arrange lettuce on the bottom of a salad plate or bowl.  Arrange tuna, anchovies, tomatoes, potatoes, eggs, onion, and green beans in separate small mounds on top of lettuce.

DIRECTIONS – VINAIGRETTE

In a small plastic container with lid, add all ingredients, cover with lid, and shake until completely emulsified (mixed together).  Pour over salad.

 

 

 

 

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