Salade Niçoise à l’Américaine – Niçoise Salad (American Style)

Ingredients:
4 Tuna Fillets (about 6 oz each)
1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Sea Salt, or coarse Kosher
1/2 tsp Black Pepper, ground
12 baby Red Pontiac Potatoes
1 Roasted Red Bell Pepper
4-6 oz Green Beans, trimmed
4 Eggs
Water for boiling
1/3-1/2 lb Butterhead Lettuce
1/2 cup Fresh Basil
2 Tbsp Fresh Thyme
1/4 cup Fresh Mint
4 Plum Tomatoes, Quartered
2 Tbsp Capers
12 Niçoise Olives
4-8 Anchovies (optional)
1 cup Niçoise Vinaigrette

Directions:

  • Prepare the Tuna:
    • Heat a skillet on medium heat with 1/2 Tbsp of the Olive Oil.
    • Cut the Tuna into 2″ x 1″ strips.
    • Rub with the Salt and Pepper.
    • Place the Tuna in the pan, and sear each of the four long sides, watching the small sides to make an even searing to desired done-ness.
    • Set in the Refrigerator.
  • Place the Eggs in a pot and cover with water.
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Turn off the heat and let sit for 12-15 minutes.
  • Remove and run under cold water, and peel the eggs; in the Refrigerator.
  • Return the Water to a boil.
  • Add the Potatoes and the Green Beans
  • Cook for 4 minutes, until the Green Beans turn bright Green.
  • Remove the Beans first, using tongs, and then the Potatoes.
  • Run both under cold water and set in the Refrigerator.
  • Give all the ingredients at least 20 minutes to cool.
  • Prepare wide bowls or salad plates for plating by dividing the Lettuce evenly.
  • Tear the Basil and Mint, and divide with the Thyme among the salad plates.
  • Quarter the Tomatoes, Potatoes, and Eggs.
  • Decoratively divide the Tomatoes, Potatoes, Eggs, and Green Beans among the salad plates. Usually this salad is deconstructed with the different items in piles next to each other on the Lettuce.
  • Slice the Tuna pieces perpendicular to the seared sides, in 1/4″ slices, and add to the Salad.
  • Add the Capers and Anchovies, and drizzle the Vinaigrette over it.

Serves 4

NOTES: Despite being what one would commonly find in most restaurants and diners in America and what Julia Child’s recipe calls Salade Niçoise, it is strikingly different from a true Salade Niçoise from Nice, France or the Côte d’Azur. Most noteworthy is the use of Blanched Potatoes and Green Beans–something not commonly used in the French namesake. Additionally, Mescaline salad would be used, and other items like Artichokes would be present. Still this is the version most Americans will know and recognize, and I find it tasty (without the Anchovies, which I have not yet come to like).  OH I should also mention that many of the French recipes  use Canned Tuna–I can only assume theirs is not “Chicken of the Sea”, though I’ve seen some marinated vacuum-sealed Tuna that may serve the purpose–and Lord know’s most diners use canned.

This salad, is often served as an Entrée, in a similar manner to the Cobb Salad.

I do have to share what Julia Child says about this sald in her book Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom:

Of all main-course salads, the Niçoise is my all-time favorite, with its fresh butter-lettuce foundation; its carefully cooked, beautifully green green beans; its colorful contrast of halved hard-boiled eggs, ripe red tomatoes, and black olives; all fortified by chunks of tunafish and freshly opened anchovies. It’s a perfect luncheon dish, to my mind, winter, summer, spring, and fall — an inspired combination that pleases everyone.

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Potato Salad with Avocado-Yogurt Dressing

Potato Salad with Avocado-Yogurt Dressing

Ingredients:
6 large Red Pontiac Potatoes, cleaned, and chopped
2 Avocados, mashed
1/2 cup Greek-Style Yogurt
3 Tbsp fresh Chives, diced
1 Tbsp fresh Dill, diced
1 Roasted Yellow Bell Pepper, chopped
1 Roasted Orange Bell Pepper, chopped
Juice of 1 Lemon
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
1 tsp Salt
Pepper to Taste
Water for boiling

Directions:

  • Boil the Potatoes until fork tender. I suggest cutting them before because they will cook quicker, but you can cut after.
  • While the Potatoes are cooking, in a food processor, combine the Lemon Juice, Yogurt, Avocados, Mustard, and Herbs. Pulse to combine.
  • Slowly drizzle in the Olive Oil.
  • Add Salt and Pepper to Taste.
  • Drain the Potatoes and move them to a large bowl.
  • Add the Roasted Peppers.
  • Slowly add the Dressing, tossing to mix well. You may not use all the dressing.

NOTES: I like Potato Salad, but I often find it either tasting too much like Mustard or too much like BLAH. If you want a kick, add a diced Jalapeño to the mix.

Goat Cheese, Avocado, and Roasted Pepper Salad

Ingredients:
2 Avocados, ripe, chopped
2 Roasted Red Bell Peppers, chopped
4 oz Goat Cheese
1/2 cup Black Olives, sliced
2 Shallots, sliced
6 cups Mesclun Greens
2 cups Baby Arugula Greens
1/2 cup fresh Basil
2 Tbsp fresh Dill
2 Tbsp Pignoli
3 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 cup Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Dijon Mustard

Directions:

  • Combine the Balsamic Vinegar, Olive Oil, Salt, Black Pepper, and Dijon Mustard in a bowl, and whisk together; set aside.
  • Mix together all of the Greens and Herbs in a serving bowl.
  • Toss the Salad with the Dressing
  • Top the Salad with the remaining ingredients.

NOTES: The last ingredient you want to prepare is the Avocado, as you do not want it to go brown before serving. You may toss it in Lemon Juice, however that will not completely stop the browning. This Salad is a fresh summery salad with a punch of flavor. You can mix up the greens if you like, with Frisée or Romaine–the more the merrier.

Pollo alla Romana – Roman-Style Chicken

Pollo alla Romana

Ingredients:
6-8 fillets of Chicken Breasts, thin sliced, boneless, skinless
1 Roasted Yellow Bell Pepper, chopped
1 Roasted Red Bell Pepper, chopped
6 slices Prosciutto, chopped
2 Plum Tomatoes, diced
1 head of Roasted Garlic
1/2 cup Pinot Grigio
1 cup Chicken Stock
2 Tbsp fresh Basil
1 Tbsp fresh Oregano
1 Tbsp fresh Thyme
1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper (optional)
2 Tbsp fresh Flat-Leaf Parsley
1 Tbsp Capers
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
Romano Cheese, grated

Directions:

  • Do all necessary roasting ahead of time.
  • In a large skillet, brown the Chicken Fillets in the Olive Oil.
  • Remove the Fillets to the side.
  • Add the Peppers and Prosciutto, and cook until the Prosciutto starts to crisp, about 4 minutes.
  • Squeeze the Garlic into a Mortar and Pestle, and grind.
  • Add Garlic, Tomatoes, Chicken Stock, Wine, Basil, Oregano, Thyme, and Crushed Red Pepper Flakes to the skillet.
  • Heat for 10 minutes, and then add the Chicken Fillets back to the skillet.
  • Cover and cook for 20 minutes.
  • Just before serving, stir in the Capers and Parsley.
  • Garnish with grated Romano Cheese.

Serves 3-4 people (portion 2 fillets per person)

NOTES: So it was a long weekend, and my partner volunteered to cook. He loves chicken, so he started looking online for a chicken recipe. I should mention he is not a good cook–toast and oatmeal he does well, but not much more than that. So he found a recipe for Roman-Style Chicken by Giada DiLaurentis. I had a feeling he would not end up cooking, and by the time we got back from the store, it dawned on him how much work would be involved. So it was saved for another night. I don’t like to do other people’s recipes, so I compare them to similar recipes and then make my own version with my own variations. This is my version of Roman-Style Chicken that resulted from my research and comparisons. I decided to add some different herbage, deepen the flavors with roasted peppers and garlic, as well as adding Romano cheese over the top. This is a light summery Italian meal, and it does not need a side of pasta!