Salade Nicoise

Every few months, my family participates in a progressive dinner with 2 other families in our neighbourhood. Last weekend's theme was France and I was inspired to make a Salade Nicoise using as many fresh vegetables I could find at the farmers market. I based my salad on the recipe in Laura Calder's latest book, French Taste and added slices of seared locally caught Albacore tuna. A lovely homage to the beginning of summer!

Salade Nicoise from French Taste by Laura Calder

For the vinaigrette
1/2 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon (5 mL) tarragon vinegar
1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) Dijon mustard
1/4 cup (60 mL) mild olive oil, or half olive oil and half peanut oil
Lemon juice
Salt and pepper

For the salad:
About 10 leaves from a head of Bibb lettuce
About 6 fresh basil leaves, shredded
6 cherry tomatoes
6 baby red potatoes, boiled until tender and sliced
4 ounces (110 g) green beans, blanched
3 baby artichoke hearts, cooked and quartered
1 very small red onion, sliced very finely and separated into rings
A handful of nicoise olives
2 hard-cooked eggs, quartered
3 or 4 anchovy fillets
Fleur de sel and freshly ground pepper

For the vinaigrette, whisk together the garlic, vinegar and mustard. Whisk in the oil, adding it in a thin stream. Taste, and add some lemon if the dressing isn't sharp enough. Season with salt and pepper.
Toss the lettuce leaves with a very little bit of the vinaigrette and the shredded basil, and arrange on a platter. Separately toss the tomatoes, potato slices, green beans, and artichoke hearts in a bit of vinaigrette, and arrange on the platter. Scatter over the onion and olives. Arrange the eggs and anchovies on top. Season with salt and pepper, and eat.

Makes 2 servings