My Island Trollers Niçoise Salad story: I’ve been hording. Hording my stash of Island Trollers Tuna. Somewhere in my mind I thought that the Island Trollers tuna is so tasty I want to keep it forever. That way, I’ll always have it. Because it’s so yummy that I just want to keep it around.
But, it dawned on me, that if I never eat it, I’ll never get to enjoy it. And, it struck me, DUH! I need to eat that tasty goodness and enjoy it. Opening up a new can this week was like discovering again how juicy and how fresh their tuna is. How delicious. How healthy. How… oh, sorry, I’m drooling. The fresh ocean flavor along with the meaty texture of the tuna, was like a wake-up call. I can’t believe that I had let that much time pass since enjoying some of their tuna.
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ve heard me talk about how much I love their tuna. It’s cooked once in the can (not twice like most super-market tuna). It’s fresh. It’s juicy. It’s beautiful big chunks of tuna. And, if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ve probably wondered what it tastes like. All I can say is that you really NEED to try it for yourself. In fact, go buy some now. Now! Now! Go. Don’t bother to read any more. Go, eat, enjoy! (but come back after you’ve placed your order) 😉
Whew, now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, I feel much better. Onto the Niçoise salad.
Many years ago I worked in a small French café, where I learned about French foods like croque-monsieur (a hot ham and cheese sandwich), croissants (which are not the same as crescent rolls), pain-perdu (French toast), and about Salad Niçoise.
A Salad Niçoise is a fresh healthy mixed salad with lots of veggies topped with tuna and Niçoise olives. It usually has haricot verts (or green beans) and is topped with vinaigrette. After those main elements, there are many variations. My version is adapted from one of my culinary heroes, Jacques Pepin. (I adore him!). And, this salad fits perfectly with my current healthy eating.
The Niçoise salad is a natural fit for Island Trollers Tuna because of all the fresh bright flavors of the veggies and the tuna. I chose the tuna with capers because capers are such a large part of French cooking. But, really any of their tunas would be great in this. I think I’ll try it with the garlic tuna next time.
A Niçoise salad takes a bit of prep work. But, the really nice thing about it is that it can all be made ahead and kept in the fridge until you’re ready to eat. Then, it’s just a few simple assembly steps and you have a delicious, healthy meal. This would be great to take to a family picnic or as a light meal in the summer. It would also be great if you’re having company for dinner, because you could do all the prep-work before the guests arrive.
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- 3 cloves garlic peeled, crushed
- 3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- To prepare the dressing, mix all ingredients together or shake in a small jar with a tight-fitting lid.
- ¾ pound asparagus
- ¾ pound small red potatoes
- ¾ pound green beans tips and strings snapped off
- 1 yellow pepper cut into julienne strips
- 1 red pepper cut into julienne strips
- ¼ cup Niçoise or black oil-cured olives
- 1 7.5 oz can Island Trollers Tuna, broken into large chunks
- About 1 dozen red lettuce leaves
- Fresh thyme leaves
- To prepare asparagus, preheat the oven to 400° F. The woody root end of the asparagus needs to be snapped off before cooking. Take the end of the asparagus between your thumb and forefinger and bend until it breaks; the asparagus breaks (or snaps) where the woody part ends and the fresh delicious juicy asparagus begins.
- Drizzle a small amount of oil in a 13×9-inch baking pan. Place trimmed asparagus in the pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and drizzle with oil. Roll the asparagus back and forth to coat them with the oil. Bake in the 400° oven for about 15 minutes, or until the asparagus is bright green and tender when pierced with a fork. Set aside.
- Place whole (or cut in half if they are larger in size) potatoes in a saucepan, cover with cool water and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce the heat to low and boil gently for 15 to 25 minutes, until the potatoes are tender but still firm when pierced with a fork. Drain off the water and set the potatoes aside until cool enough to handle.
- Bring about 1 ½ cups of water to a boil in a smaller saucepan. Add the beans, cover and return to a boil. Boil over high heat for 3 to 4 minutes for haricot verts and up to 7 minutes for larger beans, or until just tender but slightly firm to the bite. Drain and run under cool water for a few seconds or dunk in an ice water bath to stop the cooking and preserve the bright green color.
- Cut the peppers through the pleats, remove and discard the seeds. Pile up the peeled pepper wedges and cut them into thin julienne strips.
- To serve, line a large platter with lettuce leaves. Place the asparagus, potatoes, beans, peppers, and olives to the platter and drizzle with dressing. Mound the tuna into the middle of the Niçoise salad, and sprinkle with additional thyme leaves. Serve immediately.
*For those of you who are new to my blog, I don’t work for Island Trollers, I just adore them! I did get some tuna from them in exchange for writing some recipes. But, I do it because I love them, not because they pay me. Here’s where I talk about experiencing the tuna and how I got to know them.