Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Salade Nicoise

First of all, thanks to all of my family and friends for giving my little 'ole blog a read and for sharing such kind words. I had a lot of people ask me if I'm attempting some sort of "Julie/Julia-esque" about face. The short answer is... I really have no idea, but I did think that was a charming book and movie (how you NOT going to like Meryl?)

In dedication to such comments (and compliments), I though I would make something tres francais. I've been to Nice actually, but don't recall if I had a Salade Nicoise there. Let's just say I did and let's pretend that 17-year-old-disgruntled-teenage-Carey remembered every detail of said originating Nicoise. 

Here's what I know today...Salade Nicoise is crisp and refreshing; and unlike so many salads, it's actually filling. The tuna and hardboiled eggs pack the protein needed to keep you full. 

My take on a Nicoise is not quite traditional. I've seasoned my tuna in a bit of smoked Spanish paprika and subbed-out Boston Bib for pepper-y arugula. Thought I'd take a pass on the potatoes this time too. This salad typically includes anchovies, but I forgot to buy them (smart, right?). Those stinky fishes would make this even yummier...fear not!

Not much cooking to be done with this recipe. Tuna grills on medium direct heat for just 3 minutes on each side. Briefly blanche the green beans in simmering water and plunge into an ice bath. This will maintain the crunch and glorious green color. And don't forget to hardboil your eggs.

While the salad may not be traditionally French, there's no mistaking that this vinaigrette is just like the goodie you'll find in cafes all over that lovely place. Mustard and red wine vinegar provide tangy bite.

If you're feeling really fancy (or trying to impress people on your new blog), pre-toss some of your ingredients in dressing. This actually makes everything a bit easier to eat, ensuring every bite is evenly dressed in deliciousness.

Finish with your vinaigrette and dig in to this filling delight.

Salade Nicoise
2 tuna steaks, about 1in thick
4 cups arugula
1lb green beans, cooked and cooled in ice bath
2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
2 hardboiled eggs
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
A few kalamata olives

For Tuna Marinade
1 tablespoon smoked Spanish paprika
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

For Vinaigrette
1/2 tablespoon finely minced red onion (or shallot, if you have it)
1/2 tablespoon dijon mustard
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Combine marinade ingredients and pour over raw tuna. Allow tuna to marinade for 15-30 minutes. Grill tuna over medium direct heat for about 3 minutes per side, or until firm. 

Whisk together vinaigrette ingredients. Reserve 1 tablespoon and toss with green beans and tomatoes (separately). 

Arrange salad components on a bed of arugula and dress to taste. 

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