In honor of Bastille Day I thought it only fitting that I whip up something French.  My cheese and wine intake have been reduced as I try to nail down headache triggers (sometimes life ain’t fair), so other than chocolate mousse, this seemed like the perfect dish.  And the best part is I had most of it on hand from my latest trip to the farmers’ market…

I’m giving you a fairly basic recipe – but, as always, you can add other herbs and/or veggies to your liking.  Oregano and capers provide more ‘salt and pepper,’ and some think it’s criminal not to include anchovies.

The Salad – Serves 6

8 oz. grilled or otherwise cooked ahi, or 1 can line-caught tuna, drained
2-3 hard boiled eggs, peeled and halved or quartered
6 small new red potatoes (each about 2 inches in diameter), each potato scrubbed and quartered
1/2 lb. baby lettuces
1/2 pint “Sweet 100” tomatoes, or any heirloom-type, quartered
1/2 lb. green beans, stem ends trimmed and cut in half
1/4 cup niçoise olives (or Kalamata)
1 TB chopped basil

The Dressing

1/3 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small shallot, minced
1 TB minced fresh thyme leaves, or 1 tsp. dried
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. In a bowl, whisk together dressing. Drizzle in olive oil while whisking constantly.

2. Bring potatoes and 2 quarts cold water to boil in a large pot. Add 1/2 tablespoon salt and cook until potatoes are tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer potatoes to a medium bowl with a slotted spoon (do not discard boiling water*). Toss warm potatoes with 1/4 cup vinaigrette; set aside.

3. While potatoes are cooking, toss lettuce with 1/4 cup vinaigrette in large bowl until coated. Arrange bed of lettuce on a serving platter. Cut tuna into medallions, coat with vinaigrette. Mound tuna in center of lettuce. Toss tomatoes, 3 tablespoons vinaigrette, basil and salt and pepper to taste in bowl; arrange tomatoes and eggs on the lettuce bed. Place reserved potatoes in a mound alongside.

4. Prepare bowl of ice water. Return *potato water to boil; add 1 tsp. salt and green beans. Cook until tender but crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain beans, transfer to ice water, and let stand until just cool, about 30 seconds; dry beans well. Toss beans, 3 tablespoons vinaigrette, and salt to taste; arrange in a mound at edge of lettuce bed.

5. Drizzle remaining dressing over entire salad.  Season with extra pepper. Serve and return to the Champs Elysees. Toast yourself with a glass of bubbly and begin uttering guttural sounds.  Laugh.  Take another bite, and repeat.


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