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Garden Lifestyle

Summer Salad, Nicoise-Style

Summertime and the living is easy--supper time involves as little cooking as possible--and preparing something simple with garden produce.

  • This simple, composed salad, inspired by the Nicoise-style of cooking, is the perfect way to use summer produce. Click on other pix to enlarge and read captions.
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
  • Steam new potatoes until tender, transfer to a plate to cool, drizzle with a small amount of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Potatoes are an essential ingredient in this famous salad.
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
  • Steam green beans until crisp tender and season lightly with salt and pepper. These are a required ingredient of Salad Nicoise.
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
  • Dead-ripe, summer tomatoes just picked from the garden, add color and flavor to this popular French salad.
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
  • Here are some essential as well as delicious ingredients prepared ahead to make assembly of Salad Nicoise, quick and easy.
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger

Salade Nicoise (pronounced nee-swahz) is a composed salad, originating from the French Riviera city, Nice. This Nicoise-style of cooking always uses tomatoes, olives, and garlic, and traditionally this salad is made with potatoes, green beans, tuna (usually canned) and/or anchovies, as well as other ingredients and dressed with a simple vinaigrette. It can be served on a bed of lettuce or greens or the ingredients can be simply arranged on a platter. There are as many variations as their are chefs in all of the cities in France.

Upon looking at a few different recipes, besides the traditional ingredients, they vary from Gourmet’s France with turnips and carrots; Saveur‘s recipe calls for two kinds of beets, radishes and cucumber; and in Julia Child’s The Way to Cook, she uses all of the aformentioned traditional ingredients and adds potato salad rather than potatoes, capers as well as olives and serves it with fresh parsley on a bed of Boston lettuce. At home, you can do whatever you want.

My recipe here, uses all veggies–most fresh from the garden–and I added a bit of cheese with no fish to make a vegetarian version. Feel free to improvise; the idea is to make a tasty, main course that is comfortably filling and satisfying with what you have on hand.

 

Summer Veggie Salad Nicoise-Style

 

Serves 4 to 6

 

Salad Ingredients

4 or 5 medium-sized potatoes, scrubbed and sliced, (about 1 to 1 1/2 pounds), cooked until tender

About 1 pound green beans, trimmed, halved and blanched briefly until crisp tender, refreshed under cold water

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Olive oil

4 hardboiled eggs (do not overcook!), peeled and quartered lengthwise

2 medium-large tomatoes, halved crosswise and sliced, salt and pepper lightly

2 small cucumbers or 1 medium-large, (peeled if not organic) halved lengthwise and sliced

About 4 cups washed and dried salad greens

About 1/2 cup Nicoise or Kalamata olives

About 1/3 cup cheese, large shreds (something tangy or sharp like cheddar or Asiago), optional

Thinly sliced chives or scallions for garnish

 

Prepare the potatoes and green beans and put them on plates to cool, season lightly with salt and pepper and drizzle with a small amount of olive oil. Cook, cool and peel the eggs. While the veggies and eggs are cooking, cut the other veggies and make the vinaigrette.

Slice the tomatoes and cukes, wash the salad, shred the cheese and slice the scallions.

 

Vinaigrette

 

Makes about a scant cup

 

3 to 4 tablespoons red wine and/or balsamic vinegar

1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

Salt and pepper

About 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 to teaspoons Dijon-style mustard

 

In a measuring cup, combine the vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper with a fork. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil to form an emulsion. Add the mustard, stir well and taste for salt and pepper.

 

To assemble the salad, arrange the lettuce/greens on a large platter. Scatter the potatoes over the lettuce and the green beans over the potatoes. Layer the tomato slices next, and then the cucumber over them. Scatter the olives, cheese and alliums over the salad. Serve the salad and pass the vinaigrette.

 

Enjoy your fresh bounty in a lovely and delicious salad plate now!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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