I always associate this dish with long lunches in French cafes on holiday, when in truth I probably only ate it once or twice in France, and about one hundred times at home. This is one of my favourite meals to eat when it looks like summer might be on it's way. Big lunch or light supper, it's an easy and rewarding dish that never disappoints. I don't know if my version is an authentic salade nicoise; I use gem lettuce, tinned tuna, eggs, new potatoes, green beans, black olives, tomatoes and anchovies. Some use capers - I don't, but not for any particular reason. I quite like capers. Some use tuna or anchovies, but not both. Some add onions - I don't as I think the flavour dominates too much. I like my potatoes, green beans and eggs to be warm, so I cook them right before I eat this, rather than straight-from-the-fridge cold. If you wanted to make this with a little more ceremony, it would be nice to sear some fresh tuna instead of using tinned.
It's a recipe of handfuls, really - just increase or decrease depending on appetite and preferences. For two people, I would use:
1 gem lettuce
a handful of new potatoes, maybe 6 or 8 little ones per person
some green beans
1 tin of tuna
a couple of tomatoes, sliced, or a handful of cherry tomatoes
some black olives
3 or 4 anchovies, chopped
Boil the new potatoes and green beans until they are cooked. Drain and set to one side. Boil the eggs - I like mine with the yolks still a little soft (although they are a little too soft in the photo above!). Wash and tear the lettuce, and wash and chop the tomatoes. Open the tin of tuna and drain. Cover your bowl or plate with a bed of lettuce, then roughly arrange all the other ingredients on top. I make a simple French dressing for this: olive oil, white wine vinegar, dijon mustard, salt, pepper and a smidge of sugar, shaken well in a jam jar. Drizzle over the salad and eat.
Thanks for your brilliant, brilliant comments on my last post about children's bedrooms. So many good ideas and suggestions for storage (an issue for all parents it would seem!) and ways to create a room that will grow with the child. I realise I didn't mention Angus or his room at all. Angus has the "box room", that tiny third bedroom that so many British houses have, the room that we always used as a nursery. Big enough for a single bed, a couple of pieces of furniture and not a lot else. It's not an issue now as he tends to spend most of his time playing downstairs, where most of his toys are, and often he plays in Bella's room with her toys. His room is mainly for sleeping, which is ok as he's still little. But I'm aware that his needs will change too, and I'm sure that in a year's time I'll be tearing my hair out wondering how to make him a fun space to play and sleep in. I think the answer might be a cabin bed.