Words and images by Kristina.
I just moved this past week. The morning after moving day I was flung into a week-straight of meetings and company dinners (life’s tough, I know) so I’ve only been home to shower, sleep and feed my cat.
Needless to say, I’m behind in pretty much everything right now (including-but-not-limited to a Hot Pink Apron rant about the rise and fall of the Italian sandwich in North American culture – stay tuned for that, by the way) and am in no way even remotely organized enough to prepare anything hot.
Basically, anything I’ve made in this teeny-tiny kitchen has been a salad. I’m fortunate enough to have many high quality AND inexpensive fruit markets near my new pad in Parkdale, so I’m able to pick up my fixings easily. Most of my breakfast-lunch-dinner-snack-salads have included baby heirloom tomatoes, raw tofu, fresh basil, baby kale, a little avocado, maybe some crisp pear with a splash of balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
It’s Sunday afternoon as I’m writing this and needless to say I’m ready for a change but still in no way remotely organized to prepare anything that requires a plate.
In my old neighbourhood, one of the best brunch spots is a place called Aunties and Uncles. One of my favourite things to order was the Pan Bagnat, which is essentially a Salade Niçoise in sandwich form. Today, I had a craving. And since Aunties and Uncles is no longer down the street and I’m helplessly broke, I decided to try my hand at this iconic French salad. I don’t even really know what’s in a classic Niçoise (and I don’t have the internet hooked up yet to check) so purists, if I’m way off base, apologies in advance.
Now there IS a lot of chopping in this thrown-together recipe, but if you’ve read my bio you’ll know that this is a GOOD thing for me. If you hate chopping, I’ll make some suggestions where necessary. Or employ some free labour.
Oh, I also don’t really measure anything so measurements are LOOSE. Toss and taste as you go.*
Makes 4 decent-sized servings
- 4 baby red-skinned potatoes, cooked and ½” diced.
- 3 hardboiled eggs, very roughly chopped
- A good handful of French green beans LIGHTLY steamed (no more than a couple of minutes, just until they’ve turned bright green. I cut them into two inch lengths but you can easily leave them long if you want.)
- 1 can of flaked light tuna packed in water, strained.
- A handful of oil-cured ripe olives** (the black wrinkled ones), pitted and roughly chopped***
- A whole medium tomato chopped. (Use grape/cherry/baby-heirloom tomatoes if you don’t want to chop these)
- Half a small red onion, sliced paper thin, or minced. Whatever is easiest for you. (*COUGH* FOOD PROCESSOR *COUGH*)
- A good hefty handful of mixed herbs, all fresh. I used a combination of Italian parsley, 5 or 6 big basil leaves, a couple of sprigs-worth of thyme stripped from the stem, finely chopped.****
- A teaspoon of Dijon mustard
- Two-ish glugs of balsamic vinegar
- Four-ish glugs of extra virgin olive oil.
- Salt and pepper to taste. Whisk everything together until it is homogenous.
TOSS EVERYTHING INTO THE BOWL. MIX AND EAT. DONE.
It’s delicious and just the flavour/texture combo I was looking for. If I had some lemon, a healthy squeeze would do it right. Tonight when I have another bowl, I’ll probably give it good dousing of Tabasco sauce or a hailstorm of chili flakes, but I tend to do that to pretty much everything.
After this new burst of flavour, I’m now ready to return to the tasks of patching drywall and looking for my deodorant.
*As with all recipes, this is merely a guideline. Taste and adjust as you go. I like things on a briny-er side so I tend to go heavier on vinegar, olives, and salt.
**I purchased my olives from a fancy cheese shop down the road. I only went in there because the guy behind the counter was a complete babe. Now, I’m extremely short, so when I reached for a lid for my container, I clumsily stuck the ends my scarf in the olive brine. Then in an attempt to redeem myself, bought some fancy cheese that I don’t know the name of as an excuse to talk to him. I actually asked for something “hard and stinky.” Think about that for a minute. SO MANY LEVELS OF NOT GOOD. Needless to say, the whole ordeal was a miserable fail but the cheese is great and these olives are delicious. I just can’t ever go in there again.
***Easiest way to pit ripe olives is to smash them with the side of your knife like you would when peeling a clove of garlic, they’ll slide right out.
****FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DO NOT CHOP ALL THE HERBS SEPARATELY, YOU’LL BE THERE FOR DAYS. Just roll ‘em all up and hack at ‘em as you would the tires of that annoying neighbour who keeps blocking your door with their bike. Not that I’d know anything about that…
What I’m drinking: Duggan’s Number 9 IPA (Toronto, Canada). Bitterness compliments the salad nicely.
The flirtatious-fail cheese I’m eating: Mouton Rouge (Best Baa Dairy. Fergus, Ontario)
What I’m listening to: Ostrich Tuning – In Her Highest Moon (Toronto, Canada)Add to favorites