A tuna niçoise salad platter – who could ask for anything more?
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This post is being blogged to you live from my family holiday in the lovely Poitou Charentes area of France. One of the draws of staying in a rural gîte is the ability to buy fresh local produce at the village market, with so much of it lending itself to simple but delicious dishes. I had Salade Niçoise (pronounced niece-waz) on my list of things I wanted to cook and it makes for a great family lunch with the kids.
I grew up eating this dish and I am fairly puritanical about the contents of a Salade Niçoise, a traditional salad from the Nice area – (How did they come up with the name – Ed) but seeing as nobody can actually agree as to what constitutes a truly authentic Niçoise (with even the inclusion of tuna being controversial to some), there is room to create your own variation – although, please, no beans… why cold cooked green beans seem to be considered by many a key ingredient simply baffles me!!
Despite having planned this dish… I ran out of key ingredient, salad (doh!) and so I turned this into a salad platter with the remaining few lettuce leaves tucked around the edges. As well as the usual suspects for a green salad, you should include hard boiled eggs, olives, tuna, anchovies and croutons. I omitted the anchovies (no-one else in the family likes them and I’m not convinced I really do either) and the croutons (served with fresh baguette instead). Being for the kids too, the tuna was less rare than usual (or maybe you over-cooked it – Ed) but good quality tinned tuna is perfectly acceptable. I will confess to some rogue chopped radishes being included here – and some clandestine blobs of mayo on the eggs – but don’t tell anyone! The quantities are entirely up to you – and the salad platter format worked brilliantly. Part of my Puritanism would normally insist that the salad is dressed only with good extra virgin olive oil but because (a) I didn’t have any and (b) likely family complaints, I used my usual Je Vinaigrette Rien salad dressing recipe instead.
Assemble the raw salad ingredients and toss the salad with most of your dressing. Add the eggs, tuna, olives, anchovies and croutons and a drizzle of dressing and serve!
Right – I’m off for a swim…
Wait – aren’t you forgetting the pun… where’s the show blurb? Where’s the tenuous Muppets link?
OK… one of the classic Gershwin show tunes, Nice Work If You Can Get It was written for Fred Astaire in the 1937 film A Damsel In Distress (no, me neither) and is also included in the 1951 movie An American In Paris (although it isn’t in the current stage adaptation of that film). The song also features in Crazy For You and fellow “new” modern Gershwin show Nice Work If You Can Get It. I couldn’t find a Muppet Show version of it, but this is still a favourite… now let me swim!