Gay Cook’s Nicoise salad

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Makes 4-5 servings

Nicoise salad is a traditional Provencal or southern French salad. There are many variations depending on the availability in different villages. It could include grilled fresh tuna or swordfish and even canned tuna (in oil) along with or without lettuce or cooked new potatoes. The local tender green beans are at their peak of perfection this time of year.

1 lb (450 g) local green beans, trimmed, cut in half lengthwise
2 hard boiled – roam- or range-free eggs, peeled, cut into wedges
3 medium tomatoes, peeled, cut into wedges
6 oz (170 mL) container artichoke hearts, drained, quartered
10 – 12 whole, pitted small black olives
6 –7 basil leaves, sliced
2 large cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons white wine or rice vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 teaspoon (3 mL) salt and pepper
8 canned anchovy fillets – optional

  1. To cook beans, place beans in saucepan of boiling, lightly salted water and cook just until slightly tender about 2-3 minutes. Drain and immediately drop into ice water to set colour. Drain.
  2. To cook eggs, place cold eggs in warm water in saucepan, bring to gently simmer and cook eggs for 10 minutes. Remove eggs from water, cool and remove shells. Cut eggs into wedges (there should be no black rim around the yolks).
  3. Cut tomatoes into quarters and add to salad bowl with beans. Add the artichoke hearts and black olives. Chill until serving time.
  4. Smash the garlic with the side of a heavy knife. Chop with 3 basil leaves. Place in small bowl, and add a little oil to make a paste. Use a fork to stir in the vinegar and remaining oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Quarter thinly slice remaining basil leaves. Place the anchovy fillets between paper towels to removed excess oil.
  6. To serve, toss salad and sliced basil leaves with dressing. Decorated the salad with egg wedges and anchovy fillets.