Salad Niçoise - PNW STYLE

    Have you ever tried something new and wondered “Where has this been all my life?” 
The joke’s on me when it comes to Salad Niçoise; pronounced (ni’swaz). 
    I’ve passed over the option at some of my favorite French Bistros and I won’t do it again.                                
    This elegant salad has never been without some very strong opinions: WHAT ingredients, HOW it is prepared and WHERE the ingredients should source from. Seriously, google it and the salad is rife with controversy. There’s enough division in our lives these days but I think we can all agree to eat good food while supporting local farmers and fisheries.
    This nod to the century-old salad is so perfect for these days of ‘resilience’ and a refreshing break during the hot summer months but I plan to adapt this into the fall and winter months. Creativity and flexibility are key to building this beautiful salad. While it may not be the true ‘Salad Niçoise’, your own salad at home can celebrate the architecture and beauty of a salad that eats like a meal. 

  Gather up what you want from the list below: 

VEGGIES:

Lettuce Greens
Tomatoes
Blanched Green Beans
Blanched Asparagus Spears
Cucumber Spears
Steamed Baby Potatoes
Avocado 

ADD-INS: 

OLIVES! (Niçoise, Castelvetrano, Picholine, Cerignola). Get creative and play with your food! The first time I tried this salad, Kalamata olives were used and they added a deep flavor that balanced well with the other vegetables and dressing.  

Fresh herbs (thyme, dill, chervil, tarragon) 

PROTEINS: 

Tuna seems to be a must, but I have used leftover chicken and plan to use up some slivered steak and balance it with some Rogue Creamery Blue Cheese. 

Medium-Hard boiled eggs. If you’re going to use fresh eggs, prep in advance. Fresh eggs still have an inner membrane attached to the shell and peeling one egg for 20 minutes is no fun. 
Here’s a hack for fresh eggs: Steam for 5 minutes. Immediately cool under running water or to save water use an ice bath and let them soak for 30 minutes. Set your eggs on a towel for 30 minutes and refrigerate overnight, rinse them under cool water and crack to peel.  I add salt and pepper to my eggs and potatoes. The salt works to “dry” the eggs and the pepper adds a lot of flavor. In the photo shown below we had some 2-week old eggs so we were able to steam them first with our potatoes. Remove the eggs after 5 minutes but leave the potatoes in and turn off the heat. Rest the potatoes for 15 minutes in the pot then cool.

Save the egg/potato water to quick-steam green beans for 1-3 minutes on high. Remove and transfer beans to cool water. If using asparagus, steam for a minute or two longer, just use a fork to check for tenderness. Transferring veggies to cool water stops the cooking process similar to blanching.
Blanching seals in flavors and nutrients! 

MONICA’S DRESSING! 
This dressing is so versatile! I've dressed up some leftover chicken, 
poured over cold sliced potatoes and yeah, this recipe right here! 
In the main picture, I added some chile oil for the family members who like a kick!

MONICA'S DRESSING RECIPE:
1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil 
1/2 Fresh lemon, juiced
2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
2 Tablespoons THAT’S GOOD GALRIC! 
Blend or whisk until creamy. 

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