Wednesday, August 03, 2005


Salad Nicoise

Isn't summer just too wonderful? (I know, its like a recurring theme with me. I just am a fan, what can I say)

Last night, it was absolutely sultry, the sky above Los Angeles was clear, the lights of the city were twinkling, and my guests were telling such funny stories, we almost weren't able to eat for laughing so hard (isn't that the best thing in life?)

I had invited a select few of my glittering friends over for an early evening soiree (byo wine) but didn't want to spend too much time in the kitchen since I hadn't seen so many of them in so long! I even got all the ingredients in a one stop shop at one of my all time favorite grocery stores, the fantastic, family-owned neighborhood favorite, San Vicente Foods (on San Vicente in Brentwood) I was so relaxed about the whole endeavor, I didn't even have a plan when I got there. I just knew I wanted something light and delicious. Which is how I ended up making this incredible seafood nicoise salad. It has lots of great summer ingredients, doesn't require much cooking, and can be made ahead since it is served cold. A dream come true.

Nicoise means (I think anyway) from the city of Nice (pronounced Neice) in southern France (Sigh) and this salad is pretty ubiquitous there. I could eat it every day. The idea is that it is composed, meaning not tossed, but if you want to toss it, go right ahead. Either way, it is perfection. Try it, and enjoy!

3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup tarragon vinegar

1 teaspoon dijon style mustard

lots of fresh cracked pepper

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh tarragon and basil

4 small tuna steaks

1 pound medium sized shrimp (shelled and cleaned)

2 large eggs
1 large head bibb lettuce, leaves washed and leaves separated

12 small red potatoes

1/2 pound blue lake green beans, trimmed

1 pint (pint? thats what they have at the self serve olive bar, right?) marinated artichoke hearts
1/2 pint black nicoise olives (with pits is classic, if you want to pit them, do it yourself, don't buy them pre-pitted, they will have less flavor)
2 vine ripe tomatoes (I didn't have any. Whoops. I ate them all as I was making the salad), cut into wedges

1/2 red onion sliced thin (this is not classic, but I like it)

Arrange the shrimp and tuna in a single layer in a shallow dish.

Combine the first 5 ingredients in a bowl and whisk lightly. Pour enough of it over the seafood to coat. Reserve the rest to dress the salad. Now you can broil, grill or (hey, its what I did!) Lean-Mean-Grilling-Machine until the shrimp are just cooked and the tuna is seared.

While you are grilling, hard boil the eggs. Remove, shell and cut into quarters

Add the potatoes to a large pot of salted water and bring to a boil. (Remember, when boiling, if it starts underground, its starts under water) after about 8 minutes, add the green beans, and continue to cook for 4 more minutes or until the beans and potatoes are cooked. Drain and rinse with cold water. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut into quarters.

Arrange the salad by putting on each item on the plate in a little pile.

Serve the dressing on the side.

Makes four dinner sized salads. ______________________________________________________

In July, Takeru Kobayashi 27, ate 49 hot dogs in 12 minutes to win the Nathans famous hot dog contest in NY

Bean can be used as a near synonym of (The rhythmic contraction and expansion of the arteries with each beat of the heart) pulse, i.e. an edible (An erect or climbing bean or pea plant of the family Leguminosae) legume, though the term "pulses" is usually reserved for those leguminous crops which are harvested for their dry grain.

The record for egg laying in domestic chickens is held by a Black Orpington which laid 861 eggs in 864 days.

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