Sunday, March 02, 2008

Deconstructed Niçoise Salad

They say that we eat with our eyes first, that's why it's important to serve food that is appealing to the eye...but sometimes it's difficult making food look pretty, like salads, for example. I'm not a big salad eater mainly because it's usually just a mishmash of a bunch of veggies and lettuces mixed together and it's not really a good looking dish. But after visiting Bite restaurant in San Diego, I tried their deconstructed nicoise salad and not only was it delicious, it was probably one the prettiest salads I've ever had.

INGREDIENTS (makes 4 servings)

  • 12 fingerling potatoes, or 6 to 8 small new potatoes
  • 1/2 pound green beans
  • 2 cups arugula or baby greens
  • 8 red cherry or red plum tomatoes, cut in half
  • 3 hard boiled eggs, sliced
  • 1/2 cup black olives
  • 10 oz. sashimi grade yellow fin tuna
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1/2 Tbsp. sesame seeds
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, smashed with salt until paste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 9 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Place the potatoes in a large pot of cold water. Bring to a boil and add a heavy pinch of salt. Simmer for 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender and done. Remove potatoes with a slotted spoon and let them cool completely. Add the green beans into the same pot of boiling water and bring to a boil again. Simmer for 2 minutes then drain green beans and let cool room temperature. Drizzle the potatoes with a little olive oil so they don't dry out.

Drizzle the sesame oil over tuna. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then pat down the sesame seeds all over the tuna. Wrap in plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge for 30 minutes.

When ready to cook, heat a cast iron skillet or heavy bottom skillet on medium high. Add 1 teaspoon canola or vegetable oil and as soon as it lightly smokes, place the tuna on skillet. Let it sear for 20 seconds, then turn and sear second side for another 20 seconds. Keep doing this until all sides of tuna are seared. The entire searing time should not take longer than 90 seconds. Remove and let it cool slightly. Wrap in plastic wrap and place back in fridge. About 15 minutes before serving, take seared tuna out of fridge and slice into 1/4" slices.

Vinaigrette: In a bowl, whisk together white wine, Dijon, garlic, and pepper. Drizzle in olive oil while whisking constantly. Drizzle the arugula or baby greens with 1 tablespoon of dressing and set aside.

To plate: In four plates (preferably rectangular and white) uniformly distribute black olives, then fingerling potatoes, dressed arugula, sliced seared tuna, green beans, sliced hard boiled eggs, and sliced tomatoes. Drizzle the green beans with the dressing. Sprinkle a little paprika over hard boiled eggs, and sprinkle salt and pepper over tomatoes and serve with a side of the dressing. I suggest a buttery champagne, such as Cremant de Bourgogne Rosé or even Korbel Brut for this fabulous dish!

No comments: