Salad Nicoise

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Salad Nicoise is one of my all time favorite dishes. This classic French salad is perfection on a plate. The Nicoise (pronounced ni’swaz) salad is named for the South Eastern region in France where the nicoise olive is grown, near Nice located in the Cote d’Azur. The Cote d’Azur is so gorgeous, crystal blue Mediterranean water, palm trees and sea side restaurants selling more fresh fish, wine and Salad Nicoise’s than you can imagine!   536252_594992732777_919795956_n

Its a light and refreshing lunch and perfect in the summer when its hot an humid and you’d prefer not to feel like a beached whale after stuffing your face with a huge sandwich. Even sitting in snowy Utah, making this salad with its fresh ingredients, always brings me back to this beach- its a little vacation on a plate. Hope you enjoy!

Salad Nicoise (Click for printer friendly version)

Serves 6:

Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh basil leaves
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano leaves
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Salad

  • 2-3 cans of tuna
  • 6 hard boiled eggs, peeled and either halved or quartered
  • 10 small new red potatoes (each about 2 inches in diameter, about 1 1/4 pounds total), each potato scrubbed and quartered (I used purple, red and yellow new potatoes because I had them on hand and I love the color they added to the salad)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 medium heads Boston lettuce or butter lettuce, leaves washed, dried, and torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 small ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into eighths (I used cherry tomatoes since the larger ones are’nt as sweet this time of year)
  • 1/2 small red onion, sliced very thin
  • 8 ounces haricot vert (green beans), stem ends trimmed and each bean halved crosswise
  • 1/4 cup niçoise olives (or kalamata olives) pittedphoto-238

Directions:

  1. Whisk lemon juice, oil, shallot, thyme, basil, oregano, and mustard in medium bowl; season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.
  2. Bring potatoes and 4 quarts of water to boil (do not boil the water first and then put potatoes in- bring to a boil with potatoes in the water already- this prevents your potatoes from being too mealy). Cook until potatoes are tender about 8-10minutes. Remove potatoes from water with slotted spoon. Keep the boiling water.
  3. Toss potatoes with 1/4 of the vinaigrette and set aside.
  4. While the potatoes are cooking toss lettuce with 1/4 of vinaigrette and arrange on to plates. Mound tuna in the center of the lettuce and group tomatoes, olives and hard boiled egg and separately around the plate. Once potatoes are cooked and dresses, arrange reserved potatoes in a mound at edge of lettuce bed.
  5. Return water to boil; add 1 tablespoon salt and hericot vert. Cook until tender but crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain beans and quickly transfer to an ice bath to stop them from cooking. Toss beans and onion with a small amount of dressing and arrange with the rest of the ingredients on the bed of lettuce.
  6. Drizzle another 1/4 vinaigrette over the top of the plated salad and season with salt and pepper. Place the remaining salad dressing on the table for guests to dress their salad to their liking.
  7. Serve immediately with French bread and preferably a glass of wine!  photo-241
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Scalloped Yukon Gold and Sweet Potato Gratin

This is one of my holiday staples. I made it for Christmas last year and Thanksgiving this year. I love scalloped potatoes of any kind but this combination of sweet potatoes and fresh herbs is so delicious! I got this recipe from an old Bon Appetit magazine back in 2008. Its a huge crowd pleaser, simple and bound to be a hit at your next gathering! Enjoy!

Scalloped Yukon Gold and Sweet Potato Gratin (Click for Printer friendly version)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds medium Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1 1/2 pounds medium red-skinned sweet potatoes
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh sage
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups (packed) coarsely grated Gruyere cheese (I used Jarlsberg)

Working with 1 Yukon Gold potato at a time, peel then cut into 1/8-inch-think rounds and place in a bowl of cold water. Repeat with Sweet Potatoes. (I used my cuisnart to cut the potatoes, a mandolin or sharp knife will also work)

Combine cream, butter, and garlic in medium sauce pan bring to a simmer (this will boil over so make sure to watch it… I forgot this..) Remove from heat. Mix all herbs in small bowl. Mix salt and pepper in another small bowl.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 13x9x2 inch glass baking dish. Drain potatoes, then pat dry with kitchen towels. Transfer half of potatoes to prepared baking dish using your hands to spread evenly. Sprinkle with half of salt and pepper mixture, half the herb mixture and half the cheese.

Repeat process with remaining potatoes, salt and pepper, herbs and cheese. Pour cream mixture over gratin, pressing lightly to submerge potato mixture as much as possible. Cover tightly with foil. Bake 30 minutes. Uncover; bake until top of gratin is golden and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 25 minutes longer. Let stand 10 minutes; serve.

Serves 12. This can be made 6 hours ahead of time. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until you are ready to bake.

In between cooking, baking and eating, Jake and I went out for a few runs.

We rounded off our Thanksgiving meal (and our belly’s) with Uncle Jay’s Cheesecake. YUM!