One of our favorite salads from a local restaurant is the Blue Salad. You might think we eat it to make a political statement, but actually it is because of the blueberries, blue cheese and blueberry dressing! So, in my goal to promote a bipartisan food dialogue and in recognition that I live in a red state, I decided to invent a red salad. I thinly sliced some spicy radishes, diced some roasted red beets, thinly sliced some candy stripe beets, and added julienne of a small red pepper (which my husband identified as a similar spice to a jalapeno–apparently I left a few seeds in the salad..oops). To moderate the red and pay tribute to the environment, I made a pesto from the green leafy tops of carrots from the farmers market (adding equal parts olive oil and unsalted butter, then some pinenuts and parmesan cheese to taste) and piled in the center some sliced greens. I must say–the red salad was delicious! Clearly, I can reach across the colors of vegetables!
Lately I’ve been craving a Nicoise Salad like the one I ordered at Balthazar in New York City (or just “The City” if you don’t live in Oklahoma where that means Oklahoma City). I decided to make one for dinner on Saturday night, but my husband decided he was hungry for a “man meal” which meant steak on his hasty bake and (what else?!) a baked potato. He was also nonplussed at the idea of “wasting” charcoal to sear the Tuna I bought on the grill.
I decided we would make the Nicoise Salad for the Mother’s day picinic he (I) and my son (I) had planned to celebrate Mother’s day. It was actually perfect because we made the mise en place Saturday night and actually assembled the salad at the park!
The bad news: I forgot plates so we had to eat out of the plastic containers holding different components of the salad.
The good news: It was delicious! And my husband was surprised by how filling it was…for a salad. (“I didn’t know this salad had potatoes in it!”) We also had a delicious bottle of 2000 Dom Perignon champagne, followed by a bottle of Benessere Muscat Canelli Frizzante which was WAY too sweet for our salad.
Here’s the recipe for the salad:
Elizabeth’s Mother’s Day Nicoise Salad
- 4 6-ounce tuna steaks
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 dozen small purple or new potatoes
- 1/3 pound green beans (or thin haricots verts), ends trimmed
- Mixed Greens (Julia Child says butter lettuce, but I saw mixed greens at the farmer’s market)
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved *see note
- ½ cup Niçoise olives
- 4 organic, large eggs, hard-boiled and cut into wedges
- Dijon Vinaigrette
1. Preheat grill or grill-pan over medium-high heat. Rub tuna steaks with the olive oil, season generously with salt and pepper, and grill until cooked to your liking (some people like a mere sear on the outside, but feel free to cook it all the way through). Let the tuna cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting into ½-inch thick slices. Or, put it in the fridge and serve it cold the next afternoon!)
2. Meanwhile, steam the potatoes for 20 minutes (or until cooked through) and the green beans for 7 minutes and let them cool. Cut the potatoes in half.
3. Arrange the lettuce on a big platter (or 2 small plastic containers if you forgot a plate). Lay the green beans, tomatoes and olives over the lettuce. Arrange the potatoes and eggs around the edge. Lay the slices of tuna on top. Drizzle with the vinaigrette.
- 2 parts olive oil
- 1 part lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- salt and pepper to taste
We love food, wine, traveling and each other…at least we love each other most of the time…as long as there is plenty of food and wine involved…and no one asks what rocket is more than 11 times on a single vacation, because if we tell you rocket means arugula ten times, you should probably stop asking (especially if we haven’t eaten in a few hours), or just order it and see for yourself.
Our family is like a Super Tuscan wine. Super Tuscans got their start in the 1970s when Italian winemakers decided to create a new an exciting red wine. Italy has strict wine blending laws according to the Denominazione di Origine Controlla e Garantita (DOCG). Producers of Super Tuscans decided to break the rules and make a new wine blended from grapes of their choosing. Although our birth years span 1940 to 2011, we were blended in 1994, not the 1970s like the Super Tuscans. And we aren’t from Italy. So really all we have in common with the Super Tuscan is that we decided to break the rules and become a “blended” family that gets along pretty well (again, as long as we are properly fed and wined) Maybe we are more like a White Zinfandel…but not Beringer, a classier one…unless we are really desperate.
All in all, there are eleven of us so we tend to take over a restaurant when we walk in. Six of us are adults (by age…only five of us are adults by demeanor) and we span three generations. We travel ALL the time. We live in Oklahoma, and July in Oklahoma feels like I imagine it would feel to live inside of a mouth. And I’m not talking about a mouth that just put a piece of spearmint gum in it, I’m talking about a mouth that just woke up from an 8 course wine pairing dinner at Joel Robuchon. In other words, it’s HOT and HUMID and HORRIBLE. So we leave because it’s hot. We also leave because it’s cold or because the kids are out of school for Spring Break or because one of us is running a marathon, or because someone is having a big birthday, or because flights were on sale, or because it’s Friday and we don’t have plans.
We almost always bring our kids with us when we travel. They are great travelers, and they love trying new things. They also love room service. Their restaurant, travel and recipe picks are on our Foodie Kids page. They are excellent chefs, explorers and pizza/mac & cheese/ cupcake connoisseurs. But they will also try new foods and let you know what they think of them.
We want you to use this site as a reference when you’re traveling with your family. Please check back often.
Until then, happy eating, drinking and travels!