I’m a big believer in having certain staples around the house, such as the ingredients for puttanesca, so there’s always a way to make a meal, even if you forget to shop or otherwise get distracted.
The heat of summer, though, makes this a bit of a challenge. Who wants puttanesca when the thermometer is pushing 95? I just discovered a dish that nearly solves the problem—salad niçoise. Of course it is old as the fabled profession behind puttanesca, but it is new to me.
I made it for the first time last night, having been inspired by a tweet by David Leite, of the great food blog Leite’s Culinaria. Over the weekend, before I headed to the Greemarket for fish, I was aimlessly looking at Twitter, and I came across his mention of a blog post by Kathleen Flinn.
Kathleen Flinn, the author of "The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry" (a memoir with recipes about her time at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris), knows her salad niçoise. Her blog post was lovingly photographed, full of history, and capped by an inviting recipe. I started to salivate just looking at it on my iPod, and I dispatched Santa Maria, who was then headed to the Food Coop, for the few things we didn’t have in the pantry (green beans and tomatoes).
I thought I would eat it that weekend, but then life intervened. We got busy. A birthday party became an afternoon play date. We were out of the house, and salad niçoise with a glass of wine was off the menu.
But I couldn't forget that niçoise. I was infatuated, and in the back of my mind I knew that it could be a great weeknight dish. Yesterday morning I boiled the eggs and cooked the potatoes and green beans. Santa Maria and I assembled in no time last night, and we reveled in its simple elegance. She loved it so much that she couldn’t get it of her mind. She told all he co-workers about it today, and she smiled this evening as she thought of it. I think I’ve found a new summer staple.
Weeknight Salad Nicoise (inspired by Kathleen Flinn’s delightful recipe)
- 2 red potatoes, boiled and cut into cubes
- A fistful of green beans, steamed
- ½ head Romaine Lettuce, washed and torn into bit sized pieces
- 2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
- ¼ cup pitted nicoise olives
- ½ cup halved cherry tomatoes
- 1 can tuna in oil
- 4-6 anchovies
For the dressing:
- Olive oil
- White-wine vinegar
- Thyme, to taste
- 1 tablespoon minced shallots
- Salt and Pepper
Combine the potatoes, beans, lettuce, olives, tomatoes, and eggs in a bowl.
Mix the ingredients for the dressing, to taste.
Dress the salad, and top with tuna and anchovies