For a minute this past summer, we planned a European trip for when our son would be away at camp. Don’t you just hear ‘European’ and think of strolling, food, wine, scarves, American shaming? My more adventurous better half thinks more of conquering places we’ve never been, something say Berlin-ish. Side note about better-half travel: may I recommend to all couples that you do not take a ten-day/seven-country trip through Europe, in a Smart car. Liechtenstein and Luxembourg don’t count and are not worth a route diversion. We stayed married anyway. Back to Berlin…granted, I could find my German Dieter roots on a Sprockets sojourn, but it felt like more work than eating herb omelettes in the fifth arrondissement. Well, it was not to be because my dad was ailing and we had music video producers to feed, so we happily, most fortunately settled for California excursions to Napa – glorious – and to San Francisco for what will have to be an annual concert pilgrimage, Outside Lands.
Wait, it didn’t end there. So my sister and family are living for a year in Aix-en Provence. I cry for her daily. My favorite cousins (I tell them all they’re my favorites, as I learned from my mom) live in Tourves, and our son – in his second year of French – made a friend from Paris at that summer camp, and well, it just all begged for a Spring Break trip to France. Herb omelettes, strolling, wine, scarves, family, American shaming, and tuna niçoise salads – ah, there we are – I made it back to headline.
With France on the brain and herbes des Provence on the shelf, we made an already French salade, Frenchier and to make up for the missing key ingredient that better-half doesn’t like, niçoise olives. The traditional version relies mostly on tomatoes and eggs, with canned tuna and the olives taking a backseat and none of the vegetables were cooked. We’ve evolved niçoise salad to our liking and so should you.
All good meals start with good ingredients. I tend to shop first and concoct later, especially with fresh fish. Yet, I’d never wrestle you to the ground if you went to the store with tuna nicoise salad intentions. The salad components are easy to come by and canned tuna awaits down aisle 15.
Our salad platter earns crunchtime status from the do-ahead opportunity. I mean this entire thing can be prepared a day in advance, well preserved by plastic wrap and your willpower. Despite the varying cooked ingredients, it requires few pots and pans for preparation – and who doesn’t love a one dish meal. Potatoes and eggs satisfy heavy eaters, raw vegetables and light protein satisfy waistlines. Come on let’s get this platter started. read more