FB Plugin

Monday, February 27, 2012

Prep-ahead Plan for Salad Nicoise

I love, love, love salad nicoise with all its little components...marinated olives, hard-boiled eggs, steamed green beans, boiled new potatoes, roasted fish and citrusy-garlicky vinaigrette...but it's kind of a pain to make from Step Zero.  That is, if you have to make each of those individual components just for the salad, that's a lot of steps and a lot of work. 

Despite the hoity reputation of French cuisine, I think most French dishes originated with busy housewives who had more pressing things to do than sit around pitting gourmet olives, shelling hard-boiled eggs and quartering green beans lengthwise each day for dinner.  I'll bet the first Nicoise woman to make this salad had a bunch of stuff leftover from other meals, and put it all together for dinner before it got barmy.

I think the best way to make this is to plan ahead and make extras of the things you'll need for the salad as meal components the day or two before...if you want to serve salad nicoise on Wednesday, boil eggs for snacks and breakfast on Sunday and set aside 3; serve boiled potatoes with dinner on Monday, and fish/steamed green beans on Tuesday and make make twice as much to set aside half for the salad; and on Wednesday make vinaigrette and wash lettuce.  Easy-peasy.

The traditional components of salad nicoise happen to show up at a lot of holiday meals, too...olives from the relish tray, deviled eggs (they're basically hard boiled eggs with a little mayo), green beans and baked or boiled potatoes as side dishes.  Why not throw those leftovers together to make a salad nicoise, holiday-leftover-style?  With Easter coming in just over a month, I'm keeping this idea on the back burner.

Salad Nicoise
Makes 6-8 servings

For vinaigrette:
1 clove garlic, finely minced with 1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup olive oil
6 tbsp orange juice
1/4 cup white wine vinegar

For fish:
1 lb. salmon or tuna, roasted
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper

For cooked components:
1 1/2 lbs. fingerling or small red potatoes,
1 lb. green beans, trimmed (or use frozen)
3 eggs

For salad:
8 cups lettuce, shredded (or 10 oz. mixed greens)
1/2 cup black olives
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
1 handful parsley, chopped

To make vinaigrette, mash garlic well with salt.  Whisk in oil, then juice and vinegar.  Set aside at room temperature.

To roast fish, marinate in lemon juice and olive oil while oven heats to 400F.  Remove from marinade, sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast in a shallow pan 12-15 minutes.  Let cool before putting in salad.

To cook potatoes, boil whole (10-20 minutes, depending on size of potatoes).  Drain and cool.  Slice in halves or quarters just before serving in salad.

To cook green beans, steam 15-20 minutes.  Rinse in cold water to stop cooking process and preserve bright green color (or follow package directions if using frozen).

To cook eggs, place raw eggs in a pot of water with 1" water covering tops.  Bring to a boil.  As soon as the water boils, cover the pan and take off the heat.  Let stand 15 minutes.  Pour out hot water and run cold water over eggs.  If you plan to use them within a day, clatter them around in the pan to break the shells slightly and allow cool water in between the shell and egg for easy peeling.  Cool, peel, and quarter just before adding to salad.

To make salad, toss green beans and potatoes with 2-3 tbsp vinaigrette.  Arrange lettuce on a large platter.  Arrange olives, tomatoes, eggs, green beans and potatoes in concentric circles.  Cut the fish into serving pieces and arrange pieces evenly around edge of platter.  Sprinkle with parsley.  Pass vinaigrette on the side. Pin It

No comments:

Post a Comment