Easy Niçoise Salad

There’s something about the word niçoise — it’s fun to say. Niçoise! A word with lots of  textures if you will, not unlike the salad. Now my French is extremely basic but I’m sure that niçoise means of, or related to, the French city of Nice, like how chinoise refers to things Chinese. The dish is supposed to capture fresh Mediterranean flavours: black olives, anchovies, olive oil, tomatoes, the smell of the sea. I did a quick Internet search and found tons of recipes, many declaring themselves to be either authentic. Now French food clearly isn’t my territory so I just want to share an easy version of Niçoise Salad, which I think is just a simpler take on the classic, without all of the claims to Provencal purity :P. No debates! Just a yummy and beautiful salad, perfect for a light lunch with minimal cooking.

a little rough around the edges, but good enough!

Easy Niçoise Salad

Ingredients, for 2 portions
1 can of tuna
1 head of Romaine lettuce, chopped
2 tomatoes, cut into small wedges
2 eggs, hardboiled and quartered (a little bit of runny yolk makes the salad even tastier)
100 grams of green beans, boiled in salted water until almost soft
a scattering of black olives, and feta cheese if you have any (I used a supermarket mix)
1/2 red onion, minced

for the dressing
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon of white or rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon of mayonnaise – I like just a bit of mayonnaise to make the dressing a little creamier
coarsely ground salt and black pepper, to taste

Method — not much cooking here!
1. Hardboil the eggs in a medium-sized pot. At 6 minutes, drop green beans in – of course best if you had washed the eggs first!
2. Prepare all other vegetables, and whisk together the dressing while eggs/green beans are in the pot.
3. Crack some black pepper over tuna. Set aside.
4. At 9-10 minutes, drain beans and eggs carefully; remove shells from eggs and quarter them.
5. I like to arrange all of the components of the dish carefully on a plate, rather than toss them all together. Be generous with the dressing :).

I hope I have given a nudge to those who have always wanted to make their own versions of Salade Niçoise to give it a go. As I said above, minimal cooking but oh so good and relatively healthy!

a little closer…

Here’s to a new year

Happy January!

A lot of things have happened since I last blogged – a lot of good things. The 3 weeks back home, with a short detour to Singapore for a wedding, were fantastic. Every day was spent with friends and family, accompanied by some seriously good (and cheap) food. I do recognise that ‘home’ will invariably be viewed through rose-tinted frames, as it has become more a holiday destination, a place of memory, and, a return to times free of the little things that make ‘growing up’ a little scary sometimes. But I’m happy to take whatever I can get, and feel very blessed that I can go on long-ish holidays without too much stress.

This year I’m hoping to experiment a little more with Asian cuisines and with French cuisine – did I mention that I got a French bistro cookbook for Christmas and have already started making gratins and crepes! Obviously with the French stuff, I’m less at liberty to experiment as I know next to nothing. But yes… maybe a little Chinese/French fusion? Both cuisines are very big on the quality of their sauces and condiments. And both cuisines understand how to cook vegetables well. Two promising starting points…

Anyway just a short, more personal post for now as I roll up my sleeves and get back into blogging about food.

– Sheila