Thursday, July 02, 2009

Salad Nicoise from the Pantry

Today I had an odd hankering for a Salad Nicoise. This is a treat my friend Tea used to bring to potluck luncheons back in my publishing house days. (Her original recipe appears here.)The image of a fresh piece of tuna, cut for me by Butcher Son, quick seared and thinly sliced, nestled on top of field greens, baby creamer potatoes, local green beans, and those flavorful little Nicoise olives could not be banished. I had to have it. But I am making a conscious effort to use what I have on hand before venturing out and buying more, so I dug around and decided to improvise a bit. I headed to the pantry (an industrial shelving unit in the garage) to forage for ingredients.

I found some small russet potatoes, which I peeled and steamed while the eggs boiled alongside on the stove. I had a small bunch of fresh green beans that I trimmed and steamed after the potatoes were cooked. As for the tuna, I did have one can in the pantry. I am unsure how long it has been there, as I don’t eat canned tuna. I’m crossing my fingers.* The biggest sacrifice is that I had no Nicoise olives. I debated between black olives and capers. Black olives are more in keeping with the other somewhat lowly ingredients, but the capers have a flavor closer to the Nicoise—or at least that is what my mind’s palate is telling me. (I went with the capers.)

It turned out to be a relatively hot day, so not only is it a perfect for this lovely summer weather, but I did all the prep in the morning when it was cool. Minimal fuss prepping the veggies, 30 minutes of steaming potatoes and beans, while hard-boiling the eggs, plus about 1 minute to whip up the dressing. Assembly took less than 5 minutes, so it’s a pretty easy thing to do. Smaller creamer potatoes would take a bit less time, but you’d have to sear the fresh tuna, so it’s probably a wash.

I do have to apologize for not having a picture, but my hunger got the best of me. Having waited all day in anticipation of the salad, it was all I could do to plate it before digging in. And I regret not having made extra for leftovers. : (

After dinner, I felt the need for dessert. Well, really I feel the need for dessert every night, but if I indulged I would weigh 400 pounds. I had 4 peaches that had all ripened simultaneously and needed eating. So I turned on the oven to 400 degrees, and proceeded to make some peach turnovers. I peeled and diced the peaches, along with some diced candied ginger I have been making, then added a tablespoon of brown sugar and flour. I took out a pre-made rolled pie crust, unrolled it and cut it in half, and mounded the fruit on each half. I then folded the turnover, pressed the edges and folded them over. By this time the oven was ready, so I brushed the tops with cream and popped them in for 30 minutes. Easy peasy and mouthwatering. And I managed to snap a shot before Mr. B and I devoured the turnovers.

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