A Midsummer Night’s Nicoise

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It’s pure summer love.

My inspiration began when I noticed the green beans in the garden were getting big enough to pick.

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And a few tomatoes gleamed from deep in their foliage.

Salad Nicoise with a few liberties. You know, that French dish from long ago? Here’s to a  little breaking with tradition. What’s ripening up in the garden, and what can be found in the icebox – and a little artistry, make humble ingredients really shine.

A Midsummer Night’s Nicoise

  • 3 new potatoes, I love the red skinned best
  • 1 medium to large golden beet
  • 2 -3 smallish leaves chard
  • a good handful tender young green beans
  • a few small tomatoes
  • 1 can olive oil packed albacore tuna
  • a handful of good olives (I had kalamata on hand, choose your favorite, though they “should” be Nicoise!)
  • a nice olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • freshly ground pepper
  • fresh tarragon, chervil, flat leaf parsley, basil
  • a little freshly grated Romano or Parmesan cheese

Get a medium pot of water on the stove, bring to boil while you prepare vegetables. Wash and thinly slice new potatoes. Peel and thinly slice golden beet. Clean green beans – leave whole. De-stem tomatoes and cut in half. Wash chard leaves and pat dry. Open your can of tuna – I currently love Trader Joe’s albacore packed in olive oil.

When water is boiling, slide sliced beets and potatoes in, cover and boil until tender, checking frequently after 15 minutes or so – so they do not become too soft. When beets are nearly tender, add green beans – boil 2-3 minutes. Then drain off water and pour vegetables in colander, run cold water over them briefly. Place them in a shallow bowl, drizzle olive oil over, squeeze wedges of lemon juice, chop herbs of choice and add them, then grind fresh pepper over the top. Gently turn the vegetables, letting them rest a few minutes.

On a large plate, arrange chard leaves, then let your artist out and arrange the vegetables, leaving a little hollow for a mound of lovely tuna. Scatter olives and the shredded parmesan over the top. Drizzle the olive oil lemon dressing over it all.

Bring it all to the outside, breathe deep, and eat under the summer night sky.

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With Love, from my garden and kitchen, to yours.

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