Driftwood Nicoise Salad

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French salads often feel more vibrant than the lettuce-only affairs back home.  Packed with tasty ingredients like lardons, fried mushrooms, grilled courgettes, sun-dried tomatoes and salty croutons, the flavours spill off your plate.  My niçoise salad, inspired by a charming little beach café with driftwood tables and chairs, is no different.  Traditionally it’s served with new potatoes but I like the texture of roasted Jerusalem artichokes.  These are in season now!  Recipe is taken from NINA St Tropez.

SERVES 2

200g Jerusalem artichokes (about 4)

1 tbsp olive oil

2 free-range medium eggs

100g green beans

20g anchovy fillets

1 round lettuce

100g cherry tomatoes,

halved 1 shallot, diced

80g black olives, stoned and roughly chopped

200g good-quality tinned tuna

sea salt and black pepper

FOR THE DRESSING

3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

2 tbsp white wine vinegar

1 tsp wholegrain mustard

finely grated zest and juice of 1⁄2 unwaxed lemon

sea salt and black pepper

 

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.  Quarter the artichokes and put them on a baking tray.  Toss them in olive oil and season with salt and pepper, then roast for about 1 hour, or until so.  Remove and leave to cool.

While the artichokes are roasting, bring a pan of water to a rolling boil.  Carefully add the eggs and cook for 3 minutes, then add the beans and cook for a further 6 minutes.  Remove the eggs, then drain the beans and leave to cool. Shell and halve the eggs and roughly chop the anchovies.

Tear the lettuce into a large bowl and add all the ingredients except the eggs and tuna.  In a small bowl, mix the dressing ingredients together and taste to check the seasoning.  Toss the salad with the dressing, reserving 2 tablespoons for later.

To serve, make a mound of salad in a serving bowl, add the tuna chunks and place the egg halves on top.  Drizzle over the remaining dressing.  Any leftovers will be perfect in a pan bagnat: a hollowed-out French sourdough with the salad packed inside to make a sandwich.

Nina ParkerComment