Finally for this week, the weather managed to stay bright just long enough for me to make one of my favourite quick lunches, Salade Niçoise. I was inspired by the lovely French beans and tomatoes around at the moment but you could try it with runner beans instead. I am however an avid believer that a Salad Niçoise simply has to contain tuna and anchovies to be permitted to bear the name. I made it with a fresh piece of grilled tuna but you can use tinned if you prefer. The anchovies in my recipe are only used to season the dressing but by all means add some extra if you are inclined. You can get delicious marinated anchovies or Boquerones if you shop around.
This recipe is from Alastair Little who is credited as being the inventor of Modern British cooking, which is what inspired the entire revolution in food that began back in early 90s. His fantastic book “Keep it Simple” is now out of print but you can still pick up second hand copies if you try. Alistair always amazed me by his inclusion of tomato ketchup in this dressing, but it really works!
2 fresh tuna steaks
8 new potatoes
4 tomatoes, cut in eighths
Small handful of French beans, topped
½ small red onion, very finely sliced
4 eggs, cooked for 6 minutes in boiling water, halved
A handful of good pitted black olives
Small handful of capers
For the dressing
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
4-6 anchovy fillets
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
Juice ½ lemon
1 tsp tomato ketchup
1 tsp Worcester sauce
1 egg yolk
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Boil the eggs for 6-8 minutes, depending whether you prefer a soft or harder yolk. Drain and refresh.
Boil the potatoes in salted water for 12-15 minutes until tender, then drain. Cut into halves or quarters depending on size
Boil or steam the beans for 5 minutes. Refresh in cold water, then drain.
Make the dressing: Whiz everything together with a hand blender. Check seasoning and adjust to taste.
Peel the eggs, cut into halves.
Heat a ridged griddle pan on the hob or a hot barbecue for 5 minutes. Cook the tuna steaks for 2-3 minutes on each side, depending on how rare you like your fish.