Been eating a lot of salads lately. And there's almost nothing new about me making Salade Niçoise — perfect summer vegetables and canned tuna.
Except it wasn't tuna.
My friend Zoomie turned me on to some California-caught sardines, canned in olive oil. Had to have some. We ate the first can with crackers and mustard, the way god intended.
We totally morphed this morning, when I came across some sap's Niçoise Salad. Sounded good, fine, but... Tuna? Sardines! Because I can't, in good conscience, eat tuna anymore. Another benefit of substituting sardines is that they're small fish, low on the mercury contamination scale. (And I wonder if there will be a time in my life when I can no longer eat fish at all.)
So, was this a pathetic compromise?
OMG, no. The traditional recipe adds anchovies to the tuna, for that fishy smack in the face. In my version, the sardines did it all by themselves, no tuna and no anchovies required.
The flavor of the brand of sardines we bought (Wild Planet) is clean, oceanic, bold. After just one tiny bite, you will be sold on this version of Niçoise Salad.
Of course, it helped a lot that the eggs, tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, lettuce (whoops, no allium!) were all market-fabulous. The black olives were assertive, and the dressing was made with sturdy olive oil, white wine vinegar and Dijon mustard. Black pepper.
You might think about jazzing this thing up.
With all the best ingredients, it is a happy meal. Don't mess with it.
UPDATE: No tarragon. M'kay?