Monday, August 3, 2009

recipe for a happy thursday

1 bottle of rose wine

Diana Ross and the Supremes on the stereo.

Toasted baguette slices topped with goat cheese, pear, black pepper, and basil. (Sorry, no photo. I was distracted and we ate them too fast. But you get the idea.)

A colorful bunch of snapdragons in a mason jar.

Salad niçoise, prettily arranged on a big platter and dished out (kind of sloppily) with a big spoon.

Franny's hazelnut gelato and chocolate sorbet from the very-cute Brooklyn Larder. Spendy ($9 a pint) but worth every spoonful.

A new friend across the table who also really enjoys dining in. You cozy up on the sofa together and somehow there are a million and one topics that must be discussed and you can't get the words out fast enough. And then 11:30 rolls around and it's a school night but you just want to keep talking, and who needs sleep anyway? Wouldn't it be great to stay up all night swapping stories and talking about family, and TV shows, and bad '90s-era music?

It was such an energizing evening that after the dishes were done, my teeth were brushed, and the lights were off, all I could do was lay in bed and smile up at the ceiling. I think I'm starting to get the hang of this weeknight dinner thing.

Salad niçoise
You can serve this in individual bowls or plates, but I think a big platter makes for a prettier and more dramatic presentation.
(Serves 2 people, very generously)

1 small head lettuce (I like red leaf or Boston), washed and torn into pieces
2 eggs, hardboiled, peeled, and sliced in half
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 handful olives
1 large handful green beans (or yellow wax beans), trimmed and steamed
1 handful red-skinned potatoes, steamed and halved
1 can good-quality oil-packed tuna (I like Tonno)

For the vinaigrette:
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. tarragon, minced (parsley or basil would be nice too)
salt and pepper

The only challenge in putting this dish together is cooking some of the components. I like to bring a large pot of water to a boil, and then cook everything in the same pot, removing each item when it is done. Usually, I put the eggs and potatoes in first, and after about five minutes of cooking, I add the beans for another three minutes. I remove the beans, and put them in an ice bath. When the potatoes are tender, I pour the potatoes and eggs out into another ice bath. When everything is at room temperature, you can add it to the salad.

For salad assembly, make a layer of lettuce on a platter, then top it with the ingredients, arranged in small piles or however you like. Whisk together all of the vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl to make a dressing, then pour it over the salad. Serve immediately.


Color Me Green said...

i made nicoise salad last week too! although i used smoked salmon instead of tuna which is equally as good. so sweet that you and Sarah had dinner together.

Lisa said...

Mmm..that's a great idea. Dan jumps at any chance he gets to eat smoked salmon.

Unknown said...

The baguette with pear sounds yummy...I probably wouldn't have left them sit long enough to photograph either...

Lisa said...

Tender Branson, I like your name and your site. The music component is very cool. Thanks for reading.

Daniel said...

On this week's F Word with Gordon Ramsey, GR turns a junky old car into a makeshift smoker, in which he smokes the Scottish salmon he caught earlier in the episode. I love this show. And I would love my next food craft project to be smoking my own salmon, but unfortunately we don't have a car or a backyard to put it in.

Unknown said...

twas the perfect meal and the perfect night. recipe for a happy thursday, indeed!


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