I really didn’t feel like cooking today. The weather has been hot and sticky, a typical February day in Brisbane. Standing in front of a hot stove didn’t hold much appeal. The kids were up at 5am, the toddler didn’t have a nap and hubby’s away for work. I’d been running around all day trying to entertain Mr 2 while trying to cross 2984 things off the to-do list. Know the feeling? Enter the nicoise salad, a classic dish from Provence, which involves next to no cooking and can be pulled together in about 15 minutes. It’s what I like to call a Busy Day Dinner, which is a new series I’ll be featuring on the blog.
While iterations of nicoise salad exist all over the world, there are a few essential ingredients: tuna (fresh or tinned), olives, crisp green breans and boiled eggs. Potatoes, anchovies and tomatoes appear in some versions, while parsley, lettuce and capers add bite and texture in others. Red onions and even croutons feature in some recipes.
But I like to keep my nicoise salad simple and family friendly. There are no anchovies or herbs as the kids won’t touch them. I usually leave out potatoes to reduce the cooking time. However I can’t resist salty olives and capers, and good-quality tinned tuna in oil is an absolute must.
Rather than serve it all tossed together, I separate the ingredients on a platter and let the kids create their own salad. Serve with a good-quality vinaigrette or balsamic vinegar.
What do you serve for dinner when you’ve had a busy day?
Prep time 5 minutes
Cooking time 10 minutes
150g green beans, trimmed and halved
baby cos or iceberg lettuce, torn
100g pitted kalamata olives, halved
400g tin tuna in oil (I like the Sirena brand), drained
1/4 cup salted capers, rinsed
200g cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 baguette, sliced
Here’s what you do
1. Place eggs in a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Place over a medium heat and bring to a gentle simmer. Simmer eggs for 8 minutes, adding the beans for the last 2 minutes of cooking.
2. Prepare remaining ingredients while eggs are cooking. Arrange on a platter.
3. Peel eggs and cut into halves or quarters. Add eggs to platter and serve with sliced baguette.