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This is by no means a ‘traditional’ salade niçoise -some people put in lettuce, tomatoes, all sorts of things, but I didn’t have any lettuce of tomatoes yesterday. I also know that the whole point of a salade niçoise is it has anchovies in it, but I don’t like anchovies, so I don’t put them in, but if you like, you can use little tinned fillets and put them on at the end. I do put anchovy-stuffed olives in as a sort of concession, so this does at least have the air of a true salade niçoise.

This should feed four very hungry people, but when I made this, I was feeding the Hungry Dog, so I had to use inordinate numbers of potatoes. You put in as many potatoes as you need for your purposes.

5 eggs

New potatoes

3 tbspns olive oil

2 tbspns balsamic vinegar

½ tspn mayonnaise

½ tspn brown sugar

½ tspn English mustard

400g fine green beans

2 tins tuna in oil

4 tbspns capers, drained

2 tbspns mayonnaise

Squeeze of lemon juice

Olives stuffed with anchovies

Torn basil for decoration

Hard boil the eggs and as soon as you take them off the heat, cover with cold water to stop them cooking further. Peel them by gently cracking the shells all over against the bench and taking off the shell. Sometimes it’s easiest if you run them under cold water as you peel. Cut in half vertically and set aside. To make the dressing, in a jar, shake together the oil, vinegar, sugar, mustard and mayonnaise. Boil the potatoes with a little salt and when you’ve drained them, return them to the pan, slosh a little of the dressing in and shake them up so they’re fully coated (sometimes a saucepan lid comes in handy here).

Reserve the rest of the dressing. Cook the beans very briefly in a steamer or boil them so they’re still a little bit crispy, then refresh them with cold water and dry with paper towel. With a fork, combine the tuna, mayonnaise, lemon juice and capers together.

Then put potatoes, beans and tuna mixture in a big salad bowl, top off with the eggs (you can put a dob of mayonnaise on top of each half egg) and a handful of olives, then pour over the dressing.

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