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.
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.
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
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.