Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Nicoise Dinner

This is not quite a "quick" meal. There will be preparations involved. Boiling some eggs, prepping veggies, mixing up a vinaigrette, and - brace yourself - cracking open a couple cans of tuna or salmon. Easy stuff. All the ahead-of-time steps can be done the day before. Or even a couple days ahead. Little challenge with beautiful results. I call this a nicoise dinner: Turn it into a salad, stuff it in a pita pocket, or lay the vegetables and fish on a platter and let your kids make their own plates. Lots of freedom here.

I love using Ina Garten's potato techniques. In this case, a splash of chicken broth (or veggie broth) on the warm, cooked potatoes makes a delicious difference.

Nicoise Dinner
Serves 2 to 4.

4 large eggs
1 1/2 pounds golden potatoes (about 5 medium), washed and cut into 1-inch cubes
8 ounces green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch slices
2 tablespoons chicken broth (or vegetable)
1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 tablespoons olive oil
2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
2 small cans of tuna or salmon
one 15-ounce can of olives
handful of greens, washed (optional)

Place the eggs in a medium-sized saucepan and fill with water to cover eggs by an inch. Set the pot to boil over high heat. Once the water reaches a boil, turn off the heat leaving the pot on the hot burner and cover. Let eggs cook in the hot water for 11 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, immediately transfer eggs to a bowl of ice water.

Meanwhile, boil water in a large saucepan. Once boiling, salt the water and add potatoes. Lower the heat to a gentle boil and cook for 12 to 15 minutes. Add green beans to the potato pot and continue to gently boil for 4 minutes. Drain potatoes and beans. Place in a bowl and toss with chicken broth. Let potatoes and beans sit for a few minutes to absorb the broth.

Meanwhile, combine vinegar, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste in a jar. Seal the jar and shake. Pour in oil, seal, and shake again to emulsify. Add salt and pepper as necessary.

Refrigerate the eggs, potatoes, beans, and vinaigrette if using later. Otherwise, toss everything together in a bowl and serve as a tossed salad. Alternatively, serve items separately on a platter for make-your-own salads or pita pocket fillings.

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