Salade nicoise might just be the original “Big Ass Salad”. A French classic, Salade nicoise is a rainbow of ingredients arranged on top of lettuce: green beans, purple potatoes, hardboiled eggs, tomatoes, olives, fresh herbs and, usually, tuna. This recipe follows the French preparation pretty closely—with once exception. Instead of opening a can of tuna, try sardines instead.
Although there’s nothing wrong with using tuna for this salad, it’s a good idea to balance your protein intake from different sources. What do sardines have to offer? Sardines are largely free of the heavy metals other, larger fish tend to accumulate (like tuna). They provide ample calcium, iron, protein, selenium, magnesium and omega-3s.
Canned sardines packed in olive oil generally tend to have better flavor and texture than water packed sardines, but it depends on the brand. Ideally, buy sardines with bones and skin included.
Once all the toppings are prepped for this salad, they’ll stay fresh for several days. Store the prepped toppings (green beans, potatoes, tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, olives) in a large Tupperware container in the refrigerator. Right before eating, scatter some of the toppings over a big bowl of greens, open a can a sardines, and dig in.
Time in the Kitchen: 30 minutes
- 6 ounces haricot verts (thin French green beans) (170 g)
- 6 small purple potatoes
- 2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced or quartered
- 1/2 cup (3 oz) pitted nicoise olives (or kalamata) (85 g)
- 8 ounces (about 1 cup) cherry tomatoes, halved (227 g)
- 8 ounces sardines (227 g)
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (10 ml)
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt (1.2 ml)
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (30 ml)
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (120 ml)
- 1 small head butter lettuce, plus a few handfuls of mixed salad greens
- Fresh herbs for garnish (basil, oregano or parsley)
Fill a medium-sized pot halfway with water. Bring to a boil and add green beans. Cook just 2 minutes. Pull the bean out with tongs and plunge into a bowl filled with ice water. When the beans are cool, remove from the ice water and pat dry. For easier eating, cut the beans in half.
Put the whole potatoes in the same pot of water that you cooked the beans in. Add enough salt to make the water very salty. Bring the water to a gentle simmer. Cook at a gentle simmer until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork, about 15 minutes. Set the potatoes aside to cool, then slice or quarter.
Whisk together the shallot, garlic, mustard, salt, red wine vinegar and olive oil.
Right before eating, toss salad greens with the toppings: green beans, potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, olives, and tomatoes. Add sardines, and salad dressing. Scatter fresh herbs of your choice on top of the salad before eating.
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