Romantic Valentine Indoor Picnic Featuring Nicoise Salad


stefscupoftea
photo source: stefscupoftea

It’s Romance week; dedicated to all hearts filled with love and devotion. Are you searching for ways to whisk away your Valentine to Romance land? Why not try a picnic at home? Where you ask? Look no further than your living room floor. Lay out a crisp, new tablecloth, scatter with rose petals, light a few candles, pop open a bottle of bubbly and have a Nicoise salad all prepared in advance for serving. Speak of adventures of your past  loving moments with one another and be taken away into the valley of love…

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Judy Garland from a scene in “My Funny Valentine”

“It was not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart.

It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul.”

~Judy Garland

nicoise-salad-3Nicoise Salad 

Yield: Serves 6.

Ingredients

Vinaigrette

1/2 cup lemon juice

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium shallot, minced

1 Tbsp minced fresh thyme leaves

2 Tbsp minced fresh basil leaves

2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano leaves

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Salad

2-3 cans of tuna

6 hard boiled eggs, peeled and either halved or quartered

10 small new red potatoes (each about 2 inches in diameter, about 1 1/4 pounds total), each potato scrubbed and quartered

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 medium heads Boston lettuce or butter lettuce, leaves washed, dried, and torn into bite-sized pieces

3 small ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into eighths

1 small red onion, sliced very thin

8 ounces green beans, stem ends trimmed and each bean halved crosswise; blanched

1/4 cup niçoise olives

2 Tbsp capers, rinsed and/or several anchovies (optional)

Directions:

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together lemon juice, oil, shallot, thyme, basil, oregano, and mustard. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.

Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with 4 quarts of cold water. Bring to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons salt and cook until potatoes are tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Drain. Toss warm potatoes with 1/4 cup vinaigrette; set aside.

While the potatoes are cooking, in a separate pot, add a quart of water and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt. Bring to a boil. Add the green beans to the pot. Blanch until tender but still a little firm, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the beans from the pot and place in ice water to stop the cooking. After about 30 seconds, drain the beans. Toss the beans in 3 tablespoons of the vinaigrette and add salt and pepper to taste.

While potatoes and green beans are cooking, toss lettuce with 1/4 cup vinaigrette in large bowl until coated. Arrange bed of lettuce on a serving platter (I used two serving platters, shown in the photos). Cut tuna into 1/2-inch thick slices, coat with vinaigrette. Mound tuna in center of lettuce. Toss tomatoes, red onion, 3 tablespoons vinaigrette, and salt and pepper to taste in bowl; arrange tomato-onion mixture on the lettuce bed. Arrange the  potatoes and green beans in mounds at edge of lettuce bed.

Arrange hard boiled eggs, olives, and anchovies (if using) in mounds on the lettuce bed. Drizzle eggs with remaining 2 tablespoons dressing, sprinkle entire salad with capers (if using), and serve immediately.

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