Chef Tom – Salad Niçoise

“Sometimes people mistake the salad bowl for a lawless place of disorganized and mismatched ingredients, chopped and discarded – dried cranberries on pumpkin seeds on soggy corn – which offends even me.”

Salad Niçoise

A French salade composée is a soul-satisfying salad. With plenty of cooked and raw vegetables, as well as an indulgence of the fancier best-quality jarred or canned tuna, and a few hard-boiled eggs, the meal-sized salad presents beautifully.

Similar to another famous composed salad, the traditional salade niçoise, although a true niçoise uses no lettuce, often has anchovies, would want cracked black niçoise olives and would not have artichoke hearts and basil.

Take care to arrange it so there’s some of each component wherever your eye lands. Try to nestle and fluff the ingredients to allow them all to be seen, rather than piling layer atop layer and thus obscuring the beauty of everything below. This makes the salad very attractive and, most important, ensures that everyone gets some of everything in each bite.

When it’s warm outside and you want something light but nutritious, serve this with a crisp and cold Rosé, and a hunk of whole grain bread.

Meal-Sized Salad

Classic Composed Salad

Serves 2

Ingredients:
Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

5 ounces marble potatoes

6 ounces green beans, stems removed, tails intact

4 large eggs (refrigerator cold)

1 small head soft lettuce, such as butter or red-leaf lettuce

1 bunch radishes

4 ounces artichoke hearts in brine

3 to 4 ounces ripe cherry tomatoes (red, yellow or mixed)

1 (6.7-ounce) jar high-quality tuna packed in oil

1/2 small red onion (about 2 ounces), halved and thinly sliced

1 ounce pitted Kalamata olives, halved (about 1/4 cup)

3 garlic cloves, freshly peeled 

1 to 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

 Extra-virgin olive oil (about 1/4 cup)

2 large, leafy basil sprigs (2 to 3 ounces)

Directions:
Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Add plenty of salt to taste of the sea.

Add potatoes, and boil until the thin tip of a knife can pierce a potato as if going into soft wax, 8 to 9 minutes. Retrieve potatoes with a spider (sieve), and let cool and drain on a (baker’s) rack set into a sheet pan nearby.

Add green beans to still-boiling water, and boil until the color transforms from raw and dusty to saturated deep green, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove with a spider, and set out to drain and cool on a rack.

Add the eggs directly from the refrigerator into the boiling water, and boil for 8 minutes.

Dump eggs and boiling water into the sink, letting the shells crackle as they land hard.

Peel eggs while submerged under cold running water, which helps to stop the cooking and release the shells easily. Set peeled eggs to rest on the rack.

While eggs boil, wash and spin-dry lettuce.

Remove green leafy tops from radishes, and save for another use, if desired. Wash and carefully rinse radishes, taking care to remove any grit or sand.

On a large, rimmed platter, begin to assemble the salad by tearing the clean, dry lettuce and arranging it as the bed.

Use a sharp paring knife to split the green beans in half crosswise. Scatter them artfully around the bed of lettuce.

Split the potatoes in half and arrange artfully.

Split artichokes, if whole, into quarters and arrange artfully.

Repeat with cherry tomatoes, followed by radishes, split into quarters, then eggs, quartered into wedges.

Remove tuna from the jar with a fork. Break it into chunks, and nestle it into the mound of salad. Drizzle the tuna oil over the salad.

Finish with scattered red onion and split olives.

Microplane the garlic into a small bowl. Add red-wine vinegar and 3 to 4 long glugs of olive oil (about 1/4 cup), and stir together briskly. Season with salt and a lot of freshly ground pepper.

Just before dressing the salad, tear the basil leaves to release their fragrance. Scatter them around the whole salad.

When ready to serve, drizzle dressing evenly and thoroughly over salad. When ready to eat, toss to dress, and don’t worry about messing up the beauty.

ON THAT NOTE

These young guys often collaborate with our own Josh Turner, talented musicians in their own right. I love the production values of these vids. Stripped down, acoustic, intimate and homey, leaving nothing to distract from the music itself. High, sweet voices, talented instrumentation, simple. A refreshing change from the over-produced.

Here are Taylor Bloom and Benjamin Cooley.

Kathy’s Song – Paul Simon


The Boxer – Simon and Garfunkel

Bleecker Street – Simon and Garfunkel

BONUS TRACK

Josh, Taylor, and Benjamin do Billie Eilish.

Bury A Friend – Billie Eilish Cover

=CTH=

Chef Tom is currently transitioning from Personal Chef to Private Chef. He also teaches cooking classes, caters small parties and leads overseas culinary tours. His specialty for the last twelve years has been cooking for people with food allergies and sensitivities. His motto is “Food should give you pleasure, not pressure.”

Check him out at www.hippkitchen.com

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