"Perhaps the most impressive of all the cookbook blogs are the three devoted to the 2004 edition of Gourmet magazine's "The Gourmet Cookbook" -- all 5¼ pounds and 1,300-odd recipes of it. Befitting this culinary Everest, all three writers are overachievers in their professional lives."

--Lee Gomes, The Wall Street Journal, May 28, 2008
"I should have told you before how much I've been enjoying reading your thoughts. You seem like such a great cook."

--Ruth Reichl, Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet Magazine, June 8 2008, comment on "Chocolate Velvet Ice Cream".

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Salade Niçoise

I was flipping through the book a few days ago, trying to find some salads that would use up some of these ever-lovin' veggies I'm getting from the CSA (kohlrabi salad, anyone?)--and after about five minutes of browsing around I was thinking to myself, why am I not making these salads now, regardless of whether or not they use kohlrabi? It's hot and I want salads! It's just a matter of putting your attention in the right place.

So with that can-do spirit, I embarked on gathering the ingredients for Salade Niçoise.

Now, I've had this salad before and I knew it was (in general) cooked and chilled veggies + a hard boiled egg + tuna + a garlicky dressing. On lettuce.

This recipe is no different and the basics were in my pantry and fridge, with the exception of the star of the show, the fancy tuna canned in oil.

You might be wondering what the difference is between tuna that's canned in water and tuna that's canned in oil and if I were being flip I'd tell you ten bucks and 200 calories but actually I think it must be a dryness issue...only dieters can really choke down hunks of albacore tuna without a little mayo to ease the passage if it's been canned in water.

But here's the thing (and jeez, I'm really just skipping the whole recipe part aren't I and getting right down to my gripes) canned tuna in oil tastes and smells and feels like cat food.

Which actually is the problem I have with "light" tuna too, so I DON'T GET why people would pay $10/can for this stuff unless they are cats. If I were a cat I'd probably pay a million dollars for tuna canned in oil, if I had a million dollars which I probably would because I'd be such a cute cat.

And here's another question I have, which is how is it that canned tuna is SO DIFFERENT from tuna? I mean, real tuna? What do they do to it? It's like tuna from the seafood market is from one planet and tuna from the grocery store shelf is from another one. They shouldn't even be labeled the same thing. I think canned tuna is terrific for bomb shelters and during the apocolypse I will enjoy tunafish salad sandwiches but until then, for pete's sake, if you can get your hands on fresh tuna use that instead on your Salade Niçoise and you will love me (but your cat won't.)

Have I talked about the actual recipe yet? No? OK, here's how it goes--make a dressing out of shallots, lemon juice, Dijon mustard and XVO + a little chopped parsley. Boil and cool new potatoes and green beans, and make some hard-boiled eggs. Toss the peeled potatoes, green beans and some chopped green bell pepper in with some of the dressing, and mound it on some like-wise dressed lettuce. Surround artfully with tomatoes, egg wedges, Niçoise (or other) olives, capers, and top off with cat food I MEAN TUNA PACKED IN OIL. Dollop a little more dressing on top to disguise the smell and wash down with ice cold beer. Mmmmmm m!


The Mediocre Cook said...

Thanks for that post. Put a smile on my face. My problem with salads is I always expect them to take little effort to prepare and then I look at a salad like this and think I would just rather grill a steak... so much easier. But my heart and arteries might not appreciate my attitude.

Adam said...

I made this salad a few weeks ago, and it's in my backlog of recipes that I still need to blog about. I guess I never thought about it before, but you're right, canned tuna and "real" tuna are horses of a different color. I liked this salad, but my wife and I prefer the recipe for Salad Nicoise that she ripped out of an issue of Seventeen Magazine about fifteen years ago.

Georgia said...

Salad Nicoise is one of my favorite salads. I've never made it with tuna in oil and not sure I ever will (cat food smell - blargh!)