The trees are starting their budding, the first blue bells are out in the backyard and I saw a beautiful red cardinal fly by yesterday afternoon. Finally, after a very very very long winter, spring seems to have arrived! And it just seemed appropriate to celebrate with one of my favourite spring meals: Salade Nicoise.
This is a simple casual dinner if you are having a few friends over, especially when paired with a loaf of good crusty bread and a few different types of cheeses. Like paella, this is one of those great dishes where guests can just pick away at what they like best: green beans, olives, potatoes, lettuce…whatever takes their fancy.
Salade Nicoise (for three)
1. Hard boil two eggs and set aside to cool.
2. Boil about 250 grams of small new potatoes until fork tender and set aside to cool.
3. Steam about 200 grams of trimmed green beans until just cooked, run under cool water to blanch and set aside to cool.
4. Once cooled, toss the potatoes and green beans in your favourite dressing (about 30 minutes before you are ready to eat). Make sure to keep these in separate bowls.
5. Just before you about to serve, toss your lettuce in your favourite dressing.
6. Place dressed lettuce on a large platter and arrange in separate piles: dressed potatoes, dressed green beans, quartered hardboiled eggs, cherry tomatoes, a can of drained tuna (I prefer to use a really good tuna packed in oil for this recipe as it adds so much more flavour), and then sprinkle black kalamata or nicoise olives around the platter to garnish.
Although we enjoyed our spring salad last night at the dining room table, I can’t wait until it is warm enough to serve this for dinner outside while enjoying a warm summer evening…