Friday, 2 September 2016

Salade de pâtes à la Niçoise

Salade Niçoise is a firm family favourite, and now is the prime time to make it. This is not the traditional version made with potato salad, but really it could be - you have only to substitute the pasta with cubes of potato. I have not dug up any potatoes yet, although I could, were I not too busy.

This would be most traditional served on a bed of lettuce, but it is a sad garden truth that the better the beans and tomatoes, the worse the lettuce. I have no lettuce at all, other than a few massive plants left to go to seed; I am happy to report that my beans and tomatoes are excellent. You will note I am quite vague about the quantity of tomato to use; as ever it will depend on the size of the tomatoes and how much you want. This is that kind of recipe in general.

2 servings
30 minutes prep time

Pasta Salade Niçoise

Make the Dressing:
1/4 cup mayonnaise (light is fine)
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive or sunflower oil
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh basil
1 clove of garlic, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Whisk the mayonnaise, vinegar, olive oil, minced basil, peeled and minced garlic, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste in the bottom of a salad bowl. Keep in mind the kind of fish you are using, and whether you have anchovies or olives when you add the salt; in other words use a pretty light hand with it. More can be added later if necessary.

Make the Salad:
125 grams stubby pasta
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (or more) chopped raw green beans
1/2 small sweet onion
1 or 2 stalks of celery
1 133 gram drained tin of tuna
OR similar sized piece of cooked salmon or trout; smoked would work
2 to 6 salad tomatoes
a few anchovy fillets
OR 6 to 8 olives
a few large lettuce leaves if possible

Put a pot of water on for the pasta; when it boils salt it and add the pasta. Cook the pasta for 1 minute longer than called for on the package. When the pasta has 10 minutes to cook, gently and carefully drop in the eggs. When the pasta has 5 minutes left to cook, add the washed, trimmed, and chopped beans.

Meanwhile peel, trim, and chop the onion finely. Wash, trim, and chop the celery finely. Add them to the bowl of salad dressing. Drain the tuna, if using. Peel (if you like) the tomatoes, and cut them into wedges.

When the pasta is done, turn the contents of the pan out into a strainer. Remove the eggs to a bowl of cold water to cool (whack them on the counter to crack them well first) then rinse the pasta and beans in cold water until cooled. Drain them very well and add them to the bowl of salad dressing. Toss to blend. Taste and adjust the seasonings if necessary. Peel the eggs and cut them into quarters.

Arrange the flaked tuna (or salmon or trout) over the salad, along with the tomato wedges, anchovy fillets or olives, and hard boiled egg wedges. You are done - like dinner or, possibly, lunch.

If you have some decent lettuce - hard at this time of year and I certainly didn't have any - the salad could be arranged over a bed of lettuce.

No comments: