by Elena Day
In the spring of 1974 a friend and I backpacked through Europe and we were taken with the variety of fresh foods available to us on this extremely low-budget trip. (In the States the lettuce was generally iceberg, the vegetables were overcooked, and olive oil and vinegar or lemon juice dressings were rarely a choice.) In France we readily ate Salade Nicoise, a specialty originating in the French Riviera, specifically in the city of Nice, at every opportunity. Generally these salads were of various raw and cooked vegetables arranged on a bed of lettuce drizzled with a vinagrette and topped with hard boiled eggs and anchovies or tuna.
This month I offer a recipe for an American version of the Salade Nicoise. Perhaps one could say it is “Potato Salad ala Nicoise.”
2 lbs new potatoes
½ lb fresh green beans
2 hard boiled eggs quartered
½ can of pitted ripe olives
1 fresh tomato cut in wedges
2 sliced scallions or a small red
2 Tbsp white wine (optional)
¾ cup of olive oil
¼ cup vinegar
½ tsp salt (or more to your taste)
1 Tbsp fresh thyme
¼ cup chopped parsley
(Basil & tarragon are an alternative combination. Dried herbs are fine if no fresh ones are available. Apple cider vinegar works for me.)
Slice potatoes into ½ inch rounds. Cut rounds in half if they are large. Cover with salted water and boil until fork tender (about 5-6 minutes). Very quickly toss hot drained potatoes with white wine.
Mix oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and mix with fork. Add ½ of the dressing to the warm potatoes and toss with herbs and scallions or onion. Let cool.
Cook green beans in salted water until just tender ( 6-7 min) and still green. Drain.
Arrange potatoes in a shallow bowl and arrange the olives, hard boiled eggs, tomatoes, and green beans on top of potatoes. Lay 4 or 5 anchovies on top (optional). Before serving, shake remaining dressing and pour evenly over beans. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.
Red Cabbage Salad: “Easy and Elegant”
Slice very thinly a small head of red cabbage. Place in bowl and salt liberally. Let stand for ½ hour. Mix 2 Tbsp. each olive oil and vinegar and ½ to 1 tsp. of salt. Mix with fork. Pour over red cabbage and toss. Add fresh ground pepper to taste.