Almost Salade Nicoise

March 20, 2015

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Of course, if this were an authentic salade Nicoise, there would be potatoes. There would also be anchovies.  Haricots verts. Maybe some tomatoes. And the olives would not be Kalamata, which these are; rather, the smaller Nicoise. So I know this is something else, but it is very close, and more than that, it’s really good, and it’s quick to put together.

The tuna with the eggs and briny olives are what make this so wonderful, and the crunchy croutons add a whole other texture, which I just love.

But this salad happened by accident. Challenging myself to not to go to the grocery store every single damn day, I decided to use what I had on hand to make…something. I wasn’t sure what. I had just bought some tuna in olive oil, and had some leftover lettuce from the weekend, part of a baguette from the day before, and there you go.

I was on my way to some kind of salad with it all.

Which seemed just like the thing to have on a sunny 60-degree day. Happy almost spring, y’all!

Almost Salade Nicoise

Makes enough for 2 dinner-size servings

  • ½ baguette
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • sea salt and cracked pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 big handfuls of lettuce mix
  • 2 big handfuls of arugula
  • 1 (160 gram/5.64 ounce) can tuna in olive oil, drained
  • 12 Kalamata olives, chopped
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 shallot finely chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • about ⅓ cup olive oil
  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F.
  1. Tear the half baguette into bite-size pieces and put them in a bowl. Add the olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper and toss. Put them on a cookie sheet and into the oven for 10 minutes or so, just until they begin to crisp.
  1. Put the eggs in a saucepan of water and turn the heat to high. When it boils, reduce to a simmer and set your timer for 10 minutes. Pour off the hot water, let cold water run on your eggs until you can handle them. Peel the eggs, then chop them.
  1. Put both lettuces in a large bowl and add the eggs, the tuna, croutons and Kalamata olives. Squeeze the lemon juice all over the salad.
  1. Make your vinaigrette by whisking together the shallots, mustard, red wine vinegar and a pinch of sea salt and pepper. Slowly add the olive oil while whisking and taste as you go. You may need a bit more oil or a little more salt and pepper. Pour some of the vinaigrette over the salad and toss (you may not need all of it– you can refrigerate what you don’t use). Serve right away.

 

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Because I can be a little obsessive, and because I love broccoli and spinach, this soup has both.

Maybe I just forgot about all the rain and gray, but I don’t remember such a wet patch like the one we’ve been having and are still in the midst of. It’s been messy. And mostly cold, but lately, less so.  (Highs in the 40s! Hot damn!)

To celebrate our unexpected heat wave in Paris, today I swapped out my big ol’ coat for my far more stylish Western suede one to hop the bus to run to my favorite Monoprix, which happens to be too far to walk, but a short 10 minute ride away…then just a street to cross, and voilà. Even better, the bus stop going the other direction is right in front of the store, and really y’all, it just doesn’t get much nicer than that.

I like to think of the 123 bus as my own private ride to all things wonderful, like the Monop, and the metro stop on line 10 which takes me everywhere I want to go. The 10 is my new 2, and the 123 is my new 52. Oh how I love the 123! The bus driver (there are always different ones, but we’re getting to know each other) and I always wave goodbye once I get off of the bus.

Which has nothing whatsoever to do with soup.

I think you’re gonna love it. Well, you will if you like broccoli and spinach and making soup in 30 minutes or so, because that’s all this takes. It’s a simple soup, but if you’ve got limes, and of course you do, and if you have the end of a baguette hanging around and some chèvre, fancy or non, consider dinner done.

Plus it’s such a gorgeous green, which goes so well with gray.

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Broccoli Spinach Soup

Makes 4 to 6 servings

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup chopped white onion
  • 1 head broccoli, florets removed and the stalk peeled and chopped
  • 4 cups/1 quart chicken or vegetable stock
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • a pinch nutmeg
  • a big pinch cayenne
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 5 ounces fresh spinach
  • lime wedges, for serving 
  1. Put the olive oil in your soup pot and turn the heat to medium-high. Add the onion and cook until it’s translucent and you can smell it, about 5 minutes.
  1. Add all of the broccoli florets and stem pieces, along with the stock, spices, and lime zest. Let come to a boil, reduce heat and cook for 15 to 30 minutes or until all of the broccoli stem pieces are easily pierced with a fork.
  1. Turn off the heat and add the spinach to the pot, and stir it in — it’ll wilt immediately.
  1. Gently pour the soup into your blender, and purée until it has a very smooth, fine consistency. Serve right away with lime wedges or let cool and rewarm later.

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I’ve wanted to make this for a long time, since my coffee-filled, editing-the-book-manuscript afternoons at Kooka Boora (now KB Cafeshop) in Montmartre, when I nearly always had a thick piece of a lemony poppyseed cake with my triple lattes. I always wondered how it would taste if the lemon were lime. Swapping out the lime for […]

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