Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Hot Nicoise Salad
Ewww is probably your first reaction if it's not what in the heck is nicoise salad? Hot conjours up visions of wilted lettuce and soggy stuff. This is not that at all. It seems, Gywneth Paltrow had a hankering for a nicoise salad on a cold, grey London day and decided to try a hot version. Now, I knew she'd taken a tour of Italy with Mario Batali. But, I had NO clue she could cook. Seems she's written a cookbook called My Father's Daughter. Based on this recipe, I may well buy the cookbook. It was that good.
I'm a huge fan of Salad Nicoise. Tuna, anchovies, basil, tomatoes, olives, green beans... Tossed with a great vinaigrette and some nice, crisp romaine. It doesn't get much better. When I saw this version, I was totally intrigued. We were in the car so I immediately read it to Connie. He was intrigued too.
We were supposed to go out to dinner to celebrate my birthday which was coming up in a few days. But, life intervened. We needed to start cat food since we were almost out. The menu at R Bistro - which changes weekly - didn't particularly appeal to me this week. And, Butler was playing in the Sweet 16 at 4:30. I'm an IU grad - that's Indiana University - but I served on the Kappa house board at Butler. And, Mom went there. And, it's one of the hometown universities. Needless to say, I wanted to see the end of the game. So, our R Bistro reservations were cancelled. The gift certificate will be used another day. We had all the ingredients for the Hot Nicoise Salad. It needed the oven and not the stove. Which was a good thing since I had most of the burners going making cat food. And, the others were being used for slices of happiness. Serendipity!
A couple of comments. The photo showed the dish in a skillet, so my brain said it needed to be roasted in a skillet. I don't have a large enough oven proof skillet to make four servings of this. So, I made the full version of the vegetables and two servings of the eggs and tuna. It was so good I wish I had the leftover tuna today!! And, yes, I could have used a roasting pan... This recipe called to me for a bit of truffle flavor so I added the black truffle salt and truffle oil. Those by no means are make or break items. We just happen to love the flavor.
Hot Nicoise Salad
or with wine for the cooks...
1/2 lb green beans
1 c grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 c pitted olives (her recipe calls for Nicoise, we used Kalamata)
1 roasted red bell pepper cut into strips
1 2 oz can anchovies, drained and chopped
1/2 c torn basil leaves
1 T capers (my addition)
1/2 c plus 1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 T truffle oil (my addition)
salt and freshly ground pepper
4 6oz 1" thick tuna steaks
4 large eggs
1/4 t black truffle salt (my addition)
2 T fresh lemon juice
Preheat your oven to 400. Lightly steam the green beans just until they're crisp tender. Put them in the skillet or roasting pan.
Squeeze the tomatoes over the green beans.
Add the roasted red pepper, anchovies, capers, basil and toss all of that with 1/4 c of the olive oil.
Crack the eggs into ramekins. Nestle the ramekins into the vegetables.
Sprinkle the eggs with the black truffle salt and freshly ground pepper. Drizzle them with a tablespoon of the olive oil. Lay the tuna steaks on top of the vegetables. Drizzle a tablespoon of the olive oil over the tuna steaks. Dust them with salt and pepper.
Roast the salad in the center of your oven for 15 minutes. You want the tuna steaks to be rare in the center and the yolks of the eggs to be runny.
Whisk together the remaining tablespoon of the olive oil, the tablespoon of the truffle oil and the lemon juice. Remove the skillet from the oven and plate the salad. Drizzle with the dressing.
Adapted from Food and Wine. Original recipe Gwenyth Paltrow.