Summer Salad with a Nod to Nice
July 24, 2016
I simply can't call it a Salade Nicoise (not even if I could find the cedilla for that "c"). The mitigating circumstances today were these: no tomatoes yet in the market, even this late in July, due to a severe lack of rain; our 16-year-old guest can't eat eggs; no cucumbers yet; and it's still too early for peppers. So a lot of the true ingredients are noticeably lacking.
Our market trip yesterday, however, gave us the First Potatoes of the Season: small fingerlings. Plus a box of the skinniest-ever green beans. I asked the farmer's son (he's about 10) if he had picked them and he said he'd helped. He then volunteered that this particular bean variety must be picked early because they toughen if left on the vine to get bigger. They're about the diameter of a pipe cleaner.
The platter is strewn with red and green lettuces, including arugula. On top of the lettuce are a can of Rio tuna (including the oil it's packed in), the fingerlings (still warm), the quart of green beans cooked the way I like them (NOT al dente but just beyond it), thinly sliced radishes, and thin rings of green onions at their mid-season size (when the bulb is about and inch and a half in diameter). I was going to add torn basil leaves over the top but ran out of time (as I was prepping the salad I was also steaming corn on the cob, making the biscuits for strawberry shortcake, and halving the berries). The basil would have been nice.
After all the ingredients were on the big blue platter, I drizzled Tuscan olive oil over the whole thing, generously, and added lemon wedges. This isn't a real Salade Nicoise, as I said, but I dressed it as if it were: olive oil drizzled, salt sprinkled, lemon available.
When we had had our way with the salad I brought out the corn on the cob. We rubbed lime juice into the kernels and sprinkled on a mixture of powdered chipotle chile, smoked paprika, and salt.
We had no room for strawberry shortcake after all this. Perhaps we'll have it as Sunday afternoon tea.