Sunday, July 8, 2012

Summer Cooking - Composed Salad Nicoise(ish)

This is my favorite summer meal.  It looks elegant, it's easy and it's cold.  I blatantly stole this idea from my wonderful friend Jessica Scott, so feel free to steal and edit in your own way - hell, it isn't like she invented the damn thing either.  French housewives make this out of the stuff they have still lying around at the end of the week. 

We've done it with tuna (traditional), boquerones (pickled white anchovies from Spain), grilled salmon (what this is) and swordfish (pic that follows) but you can use any fish. cooked to your liking, then - 
put a bed of lettuce (not iceberg, but really anything else - a variety is best) on a platter. chop up onions, tomatoes (or use cherry tomatoes), cukes, red pepper, and/or whatever else you have lying around for veggies - traditionally slim green beans or haricot vert (we used asparagus in the first pic, haricot vert in the second), a couple hard boiled eggs, some bits of cheese (Manchengo is awesome, but any semi-hard to hard cheese will do), cornichons (the little french pickles) and olive tapenade (both at Trader Joe's). Sometimes I put in baby boiled potatoes (pic below), but not if I don't feel like turning on the stove.  Place all ingredients on the bed of lettuce in discreet sections.  (Perfect for those of us who don't like our food to touch.) The best part about it is that there is no way to go wrong - don't like one of these ingredients? Leave that out, put in something you do like - the key is variety.  Of course salt, pepper and season to your heart's content.

For dressing whisk together olive oil, vinegar (I like the TJ's Orange Champagne Vinegar) and good french mustard dressing, drizzle over the whole thing just before serving

Make it a few hours ahead so you can put everything in the fridge to get cold and you have a yummy summer composed salad - it's a lot of chopping, but other than that not a lot of work and it looks like you've done something magnifique (and it's really healthy!).

Great with this rose. But any summer wine will do.

Happy summer!