April 6, 2010

Salad Niçoise

Just as the weather was starting to get nicer, I started to crave a fresh niçoise salad.  Niçoise salad could be thought of as the French equivalent to an American cobb salad but, instead of chicken and bacon, the French use tuna.  There are a few other differences as well, such as the absence of cheese, the presence of green beans, and of course the niçoise olives from which the salad gets it's name. 

My salad niçoise wasn't exactly traditional (what exactly is traditional is arguable anyway) but I can assure you that it didn't fall short.  I love love love haricot verts but don't buy them that often since they're more expensive than regular green beans.  I splurged for this occasion though and I advise you to do the same.  The dressing is also wonderful and very classic.  I made some slight alterations in order to use less oil and it still tasted great (I am a vinegar lover though...)

Since I absolutely abhor canned tuna, mostly because I can't get over it's pungent aroma, I tried out these frozen yellowfin burgers that I found at Whole Foods.  I've seen similar frozen salmon burgers on other blogs and they looked pretty tasty, so I thought these would be a perfect substitute.  Unfortunately, the burger didn't live up to my expectations.  It was a little fishy for my liking and the texture was off.  I'm still kind of bummed about these because not only were they $6.99 (a good price for 4 patties if you actually enjoy them) but I'd like to add more fish to my diet since it's a good source of protein, omega-3's (blah blah blah), and usually, it's something I enjoy.  I'm not going to totally give up on these burgers yet though; I still have three more left.  Maybe a nice grilled bun and some ketchup could remedy the situation.  I'm sure the French would be appalled.

Salad Niçoise
No exact measurements here because I didn't use them and you don't really need them.  Since I had such a bad experience with the tuna burger, I added avocado instead on the two days I had the salad as leftovers- I thought it made a great addition.

haricot verts (french green beans), steamed, cooled and halved
niçoise olives, sliced
artichoke hearts, chopped
butter lettuce
tomatoes, chopped
hard-boiled egg, peeled and sliced
some sort of tuna
avocado (optional)

Arrange all ingredients neatly over a bed of lettuce.

Basic Vinegarette

1 tablespoon dijon mustard [I used Grey Poupon 'Country Dijon']
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely minced shallot
a sprinkle of salt, pepper, dried oregano, basil, and thyme to taste

Pour all ingredients into a small clean jar and shake vigorously until the mixture is uniform.

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