If you are an avid reader of my blog, you know that Dominic (my husband) doesn't like to be featured or talked about on the blog (although I often do against his wishes). That is why I was so surprised when he asked me if he could do a series of guest posts about cooking. Of course I said, "yes" as I think it will be an amazing new feature to my blog. As I have mentioned before, I married the most amazing cook ever. Not only does he make me every meal (breakfast, lunch and dinner), but they are always absolutely delicious and I am so happy that I am able to share a little bit of that with you!! With that, I will leave you with Dominic and his very first guest post!! Enjoy and have a splendid weekend!!
There are many renditions of Niçoise salad, or Salade Niçoise as it is known in the city of its origins of Nice, in Provence, France. While the original recipe consists of raw – not cooked – vegetables evocating the harvest d’un jardin Provençal, such as young artichokes and fresh green or fava beans, ripe tomatoes, sweet shallots, and buttery lettuce, topped with boiled eggs, tuna canned in olive oil, anchovies and niçoise olives, I prefer Julia Child’s version, one that is common to bistros and garden parties alike here in North America, altered to my preferences, of course.
This is an easy, delicious, healthy, full-meal recipe dying to be served in the late sun of a warm summer evening. With convenient and affordable access to the abundant North Atlantic here in St. John’s, in this case, I have chosen to serve la salade with fresh, locally caught, pan-seared swordfish steaks that I have been very much looking forward to trying since their appearance at our local grocers a few weeks back. As I mentioned above, traditional Salade Niçoise is served with canned tuna. Many chic restaurants and self-assured chefs, however, now serve it with fresh tuna steaks, but there are a few ethical matters concerning the Atlantic Bluefin Tuna that provide the succulent, deep red steaks that have become a common replacement for the simpler canned variety. Check out The Pew Charitable Trusts for the status and conservation efforts to save these Atlantic Giants, as well as other important, over-fished, at-risk marine species. Pew provides information on selecting ethical, sustainable seafood choices. If this site sparks your interest, Tuna: A Love Story by Richard Ellis is a great non-fiction read by this eco-commodity author encompassing the unique biology, life history, culture, economics, and research efforts surrounding this much sought after fish.
Sorry, I guess I got a little side tracked with all of my sustainable, eco-friendly jargon, but this stuff is important! Especially if you truly want to “eat well”.
Now back to the recipe. . .
New red potatoes, 500g (1 lb)
Green beans, 250 g (1/2 lb)
Red onion, 1 small, halved and sliced very thin
Niçoise olives, or, if not available, Kalamata (Greek) olives will do (but never use those awful sliced, canned things for this, or any other recipe, for that matter!)
Endive, 1 large bunch
4 eggs, boiled and quartered into segments
Olive oil, 60 ml (4 Tbsp.)
White wine vinegar, 30 ml (2 Tbsp.)
Yellow mustard powder, 15 ml (1 Tbsp.)
Sweet paprika 5 ml (1 tsp.)
Garlic, 1 clove finely minced/crushed
Lemon, 1 squeeze of fresh juice
Black pepper, freshly ground
On a plate, cover the steaks generously in olive oil, a little fresh ground pepper, and a tiny little pinch of salt. Careful with the salt – too much will dry the fish out. Let this sit while preparing the rest. Halve the potatoes and boil them until tender, but not too soft. When they are done, immediately submerge them in running, cold water until they are cool throughout. Blanche or steam the green beans, again, until cooked but maintain some crunch, and, like the potatoes, immediately place in cold water. Slice the onion and halve the tomatoes, and, ensuring everything has cooled, put the potatoes, beans, onion, tomatoes and olives in a large salad or mixing bowl.
Place all ingredients in a small jar and shake until thoroughly mixed. The dressing should have a yellow, creamy appearance. Add honey, and salt and pepper to taste. Now pour the dressing over the potato-bean mixture and toss lightly so that all of the ingredients are covered. Save a little of the dressing in the jar for later.
In pan, put approximately 2 cm of olive oil and turn on med-high. Allow oil to get hot, but be careful not to allow it to smoke or even slightly burn. Put the steaks in and sear them. Depending on how thick they are and how rare you like it (rare is the best way to go), this will only take a minute on each side (or two at the most). Now, cut the steaks in half on an angle against the grain.
Place a handful of coarsely chopped endive in the middle of a plate, and, on top, a generous serving of the potato-bean-tomato-onion-olive mixture. Place the egg around and steaks on top, and drizzle the remaining dressing over fish. Viola!