“The heat was hot and the ground was cold…or something.”

Yah, well, it was a beautiful day today. Warm, shirtsleeves weather. I asked my compadre Jim what would be good for dinner on a night like this, and our minds in sync both belted out Nicoise Salad

There are some basics to a French composed salad like this–tomatoes, fresh (or excellent canned)tuna, onions, cooked potatoes, green beans, hard boiled eggs, anchovies or capers, nicoise olives. The dressing is often a simple one of evoo and lemon juice, with perhaps a bit of shallot thrown in along with a hint of Dijon mustard.

Let me start off by telling you to eschew Starkist. Worst stuff to come out of a tin that is supposed to be tuna in a generation. Spend up a bit and get some good imported Italian or Spanish stuff, in tins or glass jars. Worth it with every bite even if it is twice the price. I bought some jarred stuff bottled in Nigeria but through an Italian conservas manufacturer. It was 50 cents cheaper than Italian or Spanish but still better than anything I’ve ever found manufactured stateside.

The process is simple enough. Boil a pot of water, add the eggs for 15 minutes till solid, remove and replace with a few string beans for about 3-4 minutes till blanched, then add your little baby potatoes for about ten minutes. Cut your tomatoes, cut your onions, shred your lettuce, and set your varied items on top of the lettuce. The dressing…trust yourself–lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, shallot diced, and a hint of Dijon. Mix. Dip your potatoes into the vinaigrette first to make sure they are seasoned, then your onions, and then pour the dressing over the entire mess. Add anchovies or capers.

If you were lucky enough, you had some pâté left over from the night before along with some crackers and white wine. Eat without guilt.

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