Niçoise Salad and Friends
My ability to quickly create a family meal is a gift from both of my grandmothers. They taught me how to cook without ever using a recipe. This is the time of year that the summertime bounty allows me to riff on Niçoise Salad for a quick salad or meal. It’s incredibly simple and so delicious. Although I often prepare family meals without a recipe, I do enjoy cookbooks. Actually, I LOVE cookbooks. I love the stories they tell, the photography, the insight into other cultures and kitchens. I read cookbooks like most people read novels.
I’ve been thinking about cookbooks and lost recipes as hurricane Harvey is upon us. This is the same time of year hurricane Katrina made landfall in our home region. While first responders are still risking their lives and there are many displaced people in Texas, I understand the effect that this storm will have on them. There will be the immediate needs of shelter and safety that must be met. In a few months as everyone numbly continues to rebuild their lives the holiday season will be upon us. Many will have lost everything, and old traditions and familiar holiday routines will forever change. This reminds me of an unexpected effect of hurricane Katrina that continues to this day. It has been 12 years since Katrina, and when we gather with family and friends for any holiday you’ll still hear someone say “I wish I had shared my recipes so that someone out there had a copy of my favorite (fill in the blank) recipe.” This was such a common thought that Cooking Up a Storm: Recipes Lost and Found from the Times-Picayune of New Orleans was written. Losing a recipe sounds so trivial when there are so many other immediate needs at this time, but it is one of the many losses that will occur. It’s so much more than a recipe. It’s the beautiful memories shared with that recipe. It’s our connection to past generations that prepared that same recipe. It’s truly something that will be a part of the loss and healing process. As hurricane Harvey continues across our region, I’ll continue to pray for all of those effected and the healing process. Thank you for letting me share those thoughts which originally began with a Niçoise salad.
This weekend we are gathering with friends. I was given salad duty and determined that I could riff on this classic salad in a very delicious way. A traditional Niçoise salad includes potatoes, string beans, oil and vinegar with garnishes of anchovy, olives, capers, tomatoes, chervil and tarragon. Here’s my simple process, but use the ingredients you have on hand and let your creative juices flow.
Niçoise Salad and Friends
Boil: New Potatoes until fork tender
String beans until tender (dip in ice bath)
Char: In a large skillet
Yellow squash slices tossed in olive oil
Cherry tomato halves tossed in olive oil
Whisk: the vinaigrette
Salt & Pepper
Fresh thyme leaves
Splash of water if needed
Assemble: On a large platter
Quartered potatoes tossed in vinaigrette
Peeled and quartered boiled eggs
Serve: With a side of vinaigrette and a lot of friends. I’d love to see your version so tag me on Instagram @y_delicacies or leave a comment below.