A feast of a salad—eggs, tuna, and vegetables are artfully arranged on a bed of leafy green lettuce.
4 medium new potatoes (peeled...or not)
1/2 lb. fresh green beans (trimmed)
1 lg. head lettuce, bibb, leaf, romaine
2 7oz. cans of tuna (drained) *
1 small cucumber (peeled sliced)
3-4 tomatoes (cut into wedges)
1 onion (sliced into thin rings)
32 or so Nicoise olives (see sidebar)
8 anchovy fillets (halved)
4 eggs (hard-boiled, cut into wedges)
1/4 C lemon juice
1 clove garlic (crushed or minced)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
pinch each, dried basil, oregano, thyme
pinch sugar (optional)
1 C olive oil
Prep work: boil potatoes, cool, and cut into chunks. Steam green beans and cool to room temperature. Prepare remaining ingredients.
Assemble: rinse and dry lettuce leaves and place in a shallow, wide salad bowl or very large platter. Arrange all the vegetables, olives, tuna chunks, egg wedges and anchovies in an attractive pattern on top of the lettuce.
Dressing: Combine vinaigrette ingedients in a jar and shake vigorously to blend. Pour about 1/3 of the vinaigrette and pass the rest in a sauce bowl.
Serve: guests help themselves to portions of the salad...and top with additional dressing. Serve with a loaf of crusty French bread.
* Canned tuna is fine, but if you like, use 12 oz. grilled fresh tuna instead.
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Tips & Glossary
Bouquet Garni: (boo-kay gar-nee) bundle of herbs tied together with string or wrapped in cheese cloth square; usually parsley, thyme, bay leaf, and peppercorns. Flavor is released during long cooking.Remove before serving.
Chervil: (sher-vil) related to parsley but has a delicate anise flavor. Long cooking kills flavor, so add at the last minute.
Cornichon (kor-nee-shon) teeny-tiny pickle, served with pates & smoked meats; found in specialty food stores.
Fines Herbes: (feen-airb) mix of finely chopped herbs: parsley, chives, tarragon, & chervil. Not as strong as a bouqet garni. Buy it at most grocery stores.
Fromage: (fra-mahj) Cheese! The French eat more than any nationality, 45 pounds per capita per year; and the country makes more cheeses than any other country, about 400.
The three great pedigreed French cheeses are:
• Brie (East of Paris)
• Camembert (Normandy)
• Roquefort (Southwest France, from sheep’s milk)
There are also wonderful lesser-known cheeses:
• Beaufort (Rhone Alps, hard, yellow Gruyere-type)
• Chevre (Loire Valley, soft, goat’s milk)
• Comte (Alps region, hard, yellow Gruyere-type)
• Emmental (Alps region, “Swiss” cheese with holes)
• Gruyere (hard, yellow cheese—originally French, now most is Swiss)
• Tomme (means “cheese”; soft, many varieties, all from skim milk)
Herbes de Provence (airb-duh-pro-vonce): mix of dried herbs, usually thyme, rosemary, marjoram, basil, & bay leaf Can be found at most grocery stores.
Mutarde: (moo-tard), mustard. Most famous:
• Dijon ( from the town in Burgundy)
• Meaux (from Meaux, east of Paris; whole-grained; made by Pommery).
Nicoise Olive: (nee-swaz- oh-leev) small, purplish-black olive with a mellow, nutty flavor; used primarily in Salade Nicoise. The Picholine variety is a green, medium-sized olive with a light, nutty flavor.
Roux: (roo) paste-like mix of melted butter and flour, into which liquid is gradually added. The basis of every classic French sauce.
Basic Roux: 1 part butter to 1 part flour. Melt butter and add flour, stirring vigorously, till it becomes a paste-like consistency. At this point, add slowly whatever liquid your recipe calls for