Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Spring Salads

Xochitlcooks has been on a well needed holiday the last week and as I write this I am warmed by the sun in Southern California. Fortunately my pasty white skin hasn't burned- more importantly nor has The Boy's for that matter. If I were to use food to describe our current skin tones, mine would be vanilla cream- slightly off white with yellow undertones- and The Boy would be something along the lines of a marshmallow. White with a bit of white added and a splash of translucent for good measure. But it has been nice to venture outside sans heavy wool coat. The weather has been like a perfect English summer's day; the problem will be the shock to the system when we leave in a few days.

Staying with the folks means that even though I am on hols, I am still kicking it in the kitchen. Cooking in someone else's kitchen (even though it is the kitchen I grew up with) made me realise how attached you get to your own cooking utensils, pans, knives, oven. This hasn't altered the quality of the dishes, but I look forward to giving my kitchen a big hug when I get home.

No trip back here is complete unless I make lunch for the Lunch Bunch (AKA my mother and her posse of discriminating foodie friends). On this occasion, given the lovely weather, I decided that a trio of salads was in order. Lunch consisted of a Tomato and Mozzarella salad, Tabbouleh and Salade Nicoise. The Salade Nicoise was done specially for my mother in memory of her last trip to London, in which we went to the South of France to visit friends of mine. My mother had never had Salade Nicoise before and in spite of a dislike for tuna, we both enjoyed it. It's a great salad to eat in the middle of summer to refresh and cool down but equally as nice in the winter to remind you of those heady days of summer.

SALADE NICOISE
serves 4

Ingredients:

1 head of romaine lettuce, chopped
1-2 4 1/4 oz tin of tuna in olive oil (if only serving this I would double the amount of tuna)
4 tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cucumber, sliced and halved into 1/2 inch chunks
4 hard boiled eggs, quartered
16 black olives, whole
8 anchovy fillets, whole (you can either use tinned ones or get some from the deli counter)

for the dressing:
4 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp. Herbes de Provence

Mix the dressing ingredients together and either shake or whisk until it emulsifies (until the oil and vinegar combine into one liquid). Put to one side.

Put the romaine lettuce in a large bowl. Arrange the remaining ingredients on top. Drizzle the dressing over the salad. Serve.

NB: When serving each person should get a quarter of the salad ingredients (meaning 4 pieces of tomato, 4 olives, 4 pieces of egg, etc.).

To keep the salad light, I haven't over dressed it but you can add more dressing if desired.

5 comments:

CB said...

Sounds wonderful. Can't wait to hear about what else you've been cooking and eating when you get back.

MOM said...

The catered lunch at school was wonderful and greatly appreciated. We liked it so much Xoch was given the First Annual Paper Plate Award - henceforth to be known as the FAPPA award. The Salade Nicoise was as tasty as I remembered it, and I plan on making it again. I never thought I would like anchovies, but after your salad I have reconsidered.
Thank you mija,
MOM

barbara said...

Xochi....The "foodies" of the lunch bunch are really your mom and I. The rest are really picky about items such as onions, pepper and other basic fundamentals of most cuisine. Nonetheless, even the picky eaters enjoyed your lunch. Thanks again. I really enjoy your blog too.

Ulla said...

Looks great! i love this salad!

Jeri said...

I'm so happy I tried your couscous before I made up a flavored packaged one. It was vile and I would of never been willing to try it again, lesson learned, will only buy the plain kind and make it up myself.