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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Not Quite Yet

This has been one of those weeks where I haven't known what day it was.  All day on Tuesday I thought it was Wednesday.  And all day yesterday I thought it was Thursday.  That would mean that today is Friday and it's not.  It's Thursday.  So, when yesterday I sent you all off to have a good Fourth of July, I did that assuming that today was going to be Friday.  Obviously there was some wishful weekend thinking going on around here.

So, since today is actually Thursday and tomorrow is going to be Friday, and I have a great recipe to tell you about, here's one more post to finish out the week.

If I had to choose something to be other than American I would definitely go for being French.  I love the clothes.  I love the shoes.  I love France.  And I love the food.   I am especially fond of the chic salads those impossibly chic women eat while wearing their fabulous French fashions.   One of my absolute favorite salads is the classic salad nicoise.

The salad nicoise isn't really a salad.  It's more of an event.  Traditionally it's made with canned tuna but I love to "dress it up" a bit with grilled tuna or salmon.  In addition, there are potatoes, haricot vert, hard boiled eggs, olives, watercress or arugula, and tomatoes all drizzled with a delicious vinaigrette.

There are a couple of things I love about a salad nicoise.  I love that it makes a grand entrance.  The whole salad is assembled on a platter in a most sumptuous way.  It's abundance is truly spectacular.  I also love that it's perfect for dining al fresco with a nice crisp glass of rose wine.  Who doesn't love eating a salad and drinking a glass of wine out on the patio.  Most of all,  I love that the salad nicoise is absolutely delicious in a fresh, summery kind of way.

So, while today may have only been Thursday, tonight's dinner would be a winner any day of the week.

Recipe:Roasted Salmon Nicoise Platter
(Ina Garten, 2007)


4 lemons, zested and juiced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
4 garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 pounds skin-on fresh salmon fillets
3 pounds small Yukon gold potatoes
1 1/2 pounds haricots verts, stems removed
3 pounds ripe tomatoes, cut into wedges (6 small tomatoes)
12 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and cut in 1/2
1 bunch watercress or arugula
1/2 pound large green olives, pitted
1 can anchovies, optional


1/4 cup champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup good olive oil


Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

For the marinade, whisk together the lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, mustard, garlic, 1 1/2 tablespoons salt and 1/2 tablespoon pepper in a small bowl and set aside.

Place the salmon on a sheet pan that has been covered in aluminum foil, and drizzle the marinade over the salmon. Allow the salmon to sit for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the potatoes and 2 tablespoons salt in a large pot of water. Bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the potatoes are barely tender when pierced with a knife. Drain the potatoes in a colander, then place the colander with the potatoes over the empty pot off the heat and cover with a clean, dry kitchen towel. Leave the potatoes to steam for 15 to 20 minutes, until tender but firm. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, slice them in thick slices and set aside.

Place the salmon in the oven and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, or until it is almost cooked through. Remove to a plate and allow it to rest for 15 minutes. Remove the skin and break into large pieces.

Blanch the haricots verts in a large pot of boiling salted water for 1 1/2 minutes only. Drain immediately and immerse in a bowl of ice water. Drain again and set aside.

For the vinaigrette, combine the vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to make an emulsion. Set aside.

Arrange the salmon, potatoes, haricots verts, tomatoes, eggs, watercress, olives and anchovies, if used, on a large flat platter. Drizzle some vinaigrette over the fish and vegetables and serve the rest in a pitcher on the side.

Serves 12

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