Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Salad Niçoise with White Balsamic Vinaigrette

Fresh, light, and flavorful—this classic French salad makes a tasty, casual dinner that’s both quick and good for you. When using canned or jarred tuna, purchase the highest quality you can find. If you prefer fresh fish, grill or blacken a tuna steak, let it cool to room temperature, then break it into bite-sized chunks.

For this recipe, I used a jarred Italian brand that packages the tuna in long, cylindrical pieces. I chose it packed in olive oil, but spring water will work too.

Jarred Tuna
Note: If you simmer the green beans and potatoes in water instead of steaming them, let the potatoes drain well before tossing with the vinaigrette. And if you can’t find actual niçoise olives, substitute kalamata, as I did here. (Niçoise olives are very tiny, so if you use them, you may want to increase the number.)
Serves 2


For the Vinaigrette
  • 2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped shallot
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
For the Salad
  • 3 oz slender green beans, trimmed and snapped in half
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 small red or purple potatoes (or both), each cut into 8 small wedges
  • 4 cups packed Boston or bibb lettuce leaves
  • 6 oz good-quality jarred or canned tuna (packed in oil), chunked
  • 8 grape tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
  • 6-8 small kalamata olives (or 10-12 niçoise olives)
  • 1 large hard-boiled egg, peeled and halved lengthwise
  • 2 tsp capers, rinsed and drained
  • crusty bread slices, for serving (optional)
Salad Ingredients
Potato Wedges
For the Vinaigrette
  1. Combine the vinegar, shallot, lemon juice, mustard, and garlic in a medium bowl. Whisk in the oil and season with salt and pepper.
Salad Dressing
For the Salad
  1. Bring water to a boil in a steamer pan. Place the green beans in the steamer basket and season with salt and pepper. Steam until crisp-tender, 3 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl of ice and chill. (Keep the water in the steamer pan simmering.)
  2. Drain the beans, remove the ice, and return the beans to the bowl. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon of the vinaigrette and toss to coat. Set aside. 
  3. Pace the potatoes in the steamer basket and season with salt and pepper. Steam until tender, about 12 minutes, depending on size. Transfer to a bowl and cool slightly. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon of the vinaigrette and toss to coat while still warm.
  4. Divide the lettuce between 2 plates and drizzle each with about 1 tablespoon of the vinaigrette. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Beans Beginning to Steam 
Beans with Vinaigrette
Potatoes Beginning to Steam
Arrange the green beans, potatoes, tuna, tomatoes, olives, and egg side by side on top of the lettuce. Drizzle both salads with the remaining vinaigrette and scatter capers over top. Serve with crusty bread slices, if desired.

Salad Niçoise with White Balsamic Vinaigrette

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