Julia Child's 100th birthday is coming up in August, and people are planning all kinds of celebrations and commemorations in the weeks leading up to it. I have very good intentions when it comes to these things, let it be known, but I usually find myself missing the boat. I'm great with professional deadlines, but terrible with bloggy deadlines. The internet is too free to be burdened by the constraints of time! (Of course, I'm pretty sure that's what the guy who played World of Warcraft for 362 hours straight said right before he died of a heart attack. Ditto for the guy who keeled over after his marathon porn binge. But for me it's different. Verrrrrry different. Because I was making salad!)
The above Salad Nicoise was what I was supposed to blog about for the JC100 a month ago. It's a composed French salad inspired by the Mediterranean city of Nice, and Julia taught us how to make it back before salad was even remotely cool. Or so I hear. I was only an infant at the time and capers were just a glimmer in my eye (it's hard to see the TV with tiny, non-dilating caper-pupils).
Besides lettuce, Salad Nicoise contains sliced potatoes, green beans, tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, tuna, olives, capers, and anchovies all dressed in a lemony-mustard vinaigrette. It's a delicious mix of fresh vegetables and briny, pickled things. Husband and I devoured this salad—ate the whole thing in one sitting. Just as quickly, I missed whatever the deadline was for posting about it. Then this week, with temps nearing 100°F and several heads of CSA lettuce in the fridge, I found myself craving those flavors again. That's when I threw together a scaled-back version of this salad that was quicker and just as delicious.
First, I dispensed with anything that involved hot, boiling water because my house was steamy enough as it was. That meant the cooked potatoes and green beans were out. I had a few hard-boiled eggs already made, so I kept those, otherwise I would have left them out, too. I prepared my lovely seasonal veggies: lettuce, spinach, and radishes. I added a can of drained, oil-packed tuna (always keep a can of the good stuff in the pantry). Then came the olives and capers (again, always keep some in the fridge). And a few anchovies (optional). Then make a vinaigrette with herbs of your choice (remember my salad dressing primer?)
Voila! An easy dinner on a hot summer's day. Nice!