Monday 29 July 2013

Nicoise Salad with Anchovy Dressing

I have been anxiously waiting for the fresh beans to be ready for harvest, so I could make a Nicoise Salad, along with some new potatoes.  Beans have been ready for a week or two now (July 22 post), so I picked up a nice piece of tuna from the Pelican Grill ... Lapointe is very overrated; the Pelican Grill is by far the best location for fresh fish and seafood in Ottawa!

There are many variations of Nicoise Salad, so many that I can't quite figure out what was the traditional version.  But they almost all call for green beans, new potatoes, tuna, hard-cooked eggs, and usually tomatoes, olives and lettuce leaves.  Sometimes artichokes and sliced onion.  But I think the traditional version also includes anchovies and capers.  Rather than have the anchovies and capers included as a main ingredient, I have (mostly) followed an Emeril Lagasse idea which has an anchovy dressing (with capers).  It's kind of like the dressing for a caesar salad - super creamy and delicious!

I have to admit I was somewhat hesitant to follow an Emeril recipe; I was never much of a fan.  When I used to watch Food TV (when I used to have a TV!), his catchphrases were too annoying for me to watch his show.   But I love this dressing!

And since I had some freshly made basil pesto, I decided to toss the green beans with pesto before adding them to the plate.

For the potatoes, I wanted to check out the Blue Russian potatoes I had planted in containers in the greenhouse and I thought the purple-blue flesh might look nice in contrast with the other colours.

For a full meal, there should probably be one egg per serving, but I used duck eggs, so thought a half egg per serving was enough.

About the tuna ... I know many health advocates are anti-tuna due to the levels of mercury; although it also has SO many other benefits.  But I figured after many years of being vegetarian (real vegetarian, so no fish either), I've done my bit to help myself and the world, and now I'm going to eat whatever I want.  Besides, everything in moderation ...

The salad can be plated individually or piled onto a serving platter for everyone to pick at.  It's great as a main or in smaller amounts as a light nibble on a hot afternoon.  For the salad itself, I haven't bothered to list amounts, it's pretty flexible.

Nicoise Salad
Grilled tuna, sliced (2-3 ounces per serving is enough as part of this meal)
New potatoes, boiled until fork tender
Early borlotti beans (or any green bean), boiled "al dente" (optional: tossed with pesto)
Duck eggs, hard-cooked
Fresh lettuce greens
Thinly sliced red onion
Anchovy Dressing - recipe follows

Anchovy Dressing
2 anchovy fillets
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 egg (or just the yolk)
2  tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
8 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp minced shallot
1 tsp capers, minced
1/2 tsp worcestershire sauce

Mash the anchovies with garlic and just a pinch each of S&P.  I did not have the best quality anchovies so I actually had to mince them with a knife first - really good anchovies will mash easily with a fork.  Then add 1 egg, or as I did, I added just the yolk.  Whisk together.

Add lemon juice and dijon mustard, and again whisk together.  Then start streaming in the olive oil while whisking throughout - this is when the sauce really comes together.  Add in remaining ingredients and give one final whisk (Emiril calls for 2 tsp capers, I cut it back to 1 tsp, due to personal preference).  Pour into a jar (250 ml is just the right size) and keep in refrigerator until ready to use.  Good for a few days.

1 comment:

  1. Emeril is annoying with his "Bam!" but his recipes are always bang on! (plus I do agree with him that everything is better with bacon)