My daughter and I had the good fortune to travel to Paris last fall. It was everything that we had hoped for and more! Rather than book a hotel, we rented an apartment through Airbnb, which was the perfect choice for us. We felt less “touristy” and we were able to enjoy the experience of really “living” in Paris for a few weeks. While we did make a point to go to all of the must see sights, most days we simply explored the neighborhoods around us. We would spend time sitting outside cafes, enjoying coffee and watching people walk by. Some days we would browse through used book stores, or buy pistachio ice cream and eat it in the park. And crepes,,, ahhh the crepes! She always chose nutella and banana, while I chose lemon and sugar. Yum! Then we would pick up a few groceries from the little market around the corner, grab a fresh baguette from our favorite boulangerie, and go home to make dinner.
One day we stopped for lunch at a cafe that we came across in this little side street. We sat outside, watching people walk by while we enjoyed one of the best meals we had found anywhere. The steak was tender, the risotto was creamy and full of flavor, but the thing that fascinated us was the way they had fried black olives along with the potatoes. It was something new to us, and we took inspiration from it. So the very next day we gathered our ingredients for a nicoise salad, but instead of throwing the olives on top, we would fry them up with the potatoes. We began by frying our little fingerling potatoes in olive oil, along with some black olives. Then we boiled some green beans until they were just crisp tender, and sliced some multi-colored cherry tomatoes in half. Finally, we mixed all of the ingredients together with some tuna, and a simple lemon and oil dressing.
We arranged lettuce leaves on our plates and piled the nicoise salad in the center, and topped it with boiled egg slices. We sliced up a baguette, and made a pot of tea, using a milk pitcher as we didn’t have a proper teapot. We turned the radio on to our favorite French music station, MFM Radio. Then we sat down to our little dining table to enjoy our creation. Everything tasted wonderful, and we were quite pleased with ourselves. This is more than a salad, it is a complete an, light and refreshing meal. The photo cannot show just how delicious this salad really was.
To put this salad together, you will need the following:
- 1 can solid white tuna
- 6-8 new or fingerling potatoes
- Handful fresh green beans
- 2 boiled eggs
- 8 cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 can black olives, drained
- Olive oil
- Garlic (3 -4 cloves, finely chopped)
- Lettuce leaves
For the dressing:
- 1 lemon, juiced
- Olive oil
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper to taste
Begin by boiling the potatoes for just 3-4 minutes, till barely tender, yet still holding their shape well. Drain them, then slice them in halves, and fry them in a little olive oil, along with the garlic and olives, and a bit of salt and pepper. This will give them loads of flavor for the salad. While the potatoes and olives are frying, boil the green beans till crisp tender, just 3-5 minutes. Drain them well.
Make the dressing by whisking together the lemon juice, olive oil, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust to your liking.
Now combine all of the elements of the salad, along with the dressing, and mix well, but being careful not to make a mess of the tuna or mashing the potatoes. Arrange the lettuce leaves either on a large serving plate, or on individual plates, piling the salad in the center of the leaves. Cut the boiled eggs into quarters, and arrange on top.