I’m loving the warmer weather, but yesterday was oppressively sticky. Even with a window, our kitchen tends to trap heat, so I didn’t want to spend any more time over a hot stove than was absolutely necessary. Luckily, we had all of the necessary ingredients on hand for me to throw together one of my favorite assembled meals – Salad Nicoise.
When I’m blanching vegetables for a dish, I like to do more than I’ll need, dry the extras well and freeze them. I had a little bag of haricots verts in the freezer from this dish, and when I got home from work I placed them into a bowl of warm water to thaw.
The extent of my actual cooking was boiling about a dozen small fingerling potatoes until tender, and hard boiling a couple of eggs; of course, if you have leftover boiled potatoes and/or hard boiled eggs on hand, you’ve got that much less to do.
While my two small pots boiled away, I washed and spun dry a mixture of young lettuces from Yuno’s Farm and set them aside while I prepared a super easy garlicky vinaigrette: mash one clove of garlic into a paste and place it into a mason jar; add 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, about 1/4 cup of champagne vinegar, salt and pepper, then screw on the lid and shake. Add 1 tablespoon each chopped fresh parsley and tarragon and 1-2 tablespoons of small capers, and shake again. Add 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil and shake for a final time.
When the potatoes are fork-tender, drain them, cut them in half and set them in a small bowl. Pour about 1/3 of the dressing over them and gently toss. Pour the remaining dressing into the bottom of a large salad bowl, place your salad greens on top and toss gently with your (clean!) hands.
Mound the dressed greens on dinner plates; top each with a handful of the dressed potatoes, 8 oz. of good-quality oil-packed tuna (drained), a few anchovy filets, haricots verts, marinated artichoke hearts, olives, tomato wedges, and a halved or quartered hard boiled egg. Pour yourself a lightly chilled glass of rose, and enjoy.