Monday, July 12, 2010

Seasonal Trivia

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?


Ms Brown Mouse said...

We have some assertive black olives in our fridge at the moment, every time I open it they shout some demand or other. If they aren't careful they'll end up eaten!

Siti said...

wow that looks yummeyh! thank you for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Oooh, I love a good Nicoise! I'm definitely gonna try this.

Zoomie said...

Beautiful eggs. Beautiful salad. Good idea!

cookiecrumb said...

Mouse: That's the only way to deal with outspoken, unruly food. Munch.

Siti: The ingredients were all so jewel-like, it came out pretty.

Zia: You gonna try! Good. Takes a brave mouth to eat assertive food. Heh.

Zoomie: Cranky did the eggs, as usual. He is a master. Thanks again to you for the lead.

Chilebrown said...

I hope to be eating a lot of salads soon. Our tomatos are a month away. I actually have a Julia Child tomato. Excited!

You gave Biggles and I the brush-off on the thermometers but you are from Marin and you know best and we Love You!!


Greg said...

Looks beautiful. I kind of a sardine newbie.

cookiecrumb said...

Chilebrown: Congratulations on the Julia tomato. We already ate a Black Krim. The season is really "thisclose."
I hope I didn't blow you both off on thermometers. I have a couple of them, not real high-end ones. I guess the mistake on cooking the wings was that Cranky "thought" they looked cooked, and he was hungry.

Greg: If you dare to try sardines, put them on saltines with mustard, the way god intended. Then you'll know if you like them or not.

namastenancy said...

Sardines in salad - what a great idea! I love sardines and I'm always looking for new ways to eat them. Like you, I buy the best ones, packed in olive oil - they are so good (to me) that I often just eat them out of the can with a spritz of lemon juice. The only sardines that didn't like were at a local Turkish restaurant. They were fresh, grilled and were a bit too fishy for my taste. But using the canned ones for Salad - a stroke of genius.