Friday, June 27, 2008



No fake-out this time, folks. I'm back with some good eats, and this is one of my all-time summer favorites. It takes advantage of the season's offerings as well as staples like potatoes and garlic, it's elegant in its basic simplicity, and the various sweet and salty flavors at play are, at least to me, delicious.

I collected this recipe from I-don't-know-where. You probably know there are many variations on this basic green bean, potato and tuna salad, from completely stripped down to ultra-fancy versions calling for freshly grilled tuna on the rare side. This is more of an everyday version that is not above opening a can or a bottle or two. Not that I have anything against the fancy stuff, but I don't always want to fire up my charcoal grill just to cook a single tuna steak for five minutes.

As usual, this recipe is a guide, not law. If olives and capers together seem like overkill, leave one of them out. (I added the capers to this one.) Also, this dish is one of the very few where I think tarragon is absolutely necessary, but oddly enough the original of this recipe didn't call for it. Maybe the author (and you) know something I don't, but to me tarragon, of which I'm not normally a big fan, is a perfect accompaniment to the unique mix of flavors here.

(In case you're curious: those blue chunks in the picture are potatoes. I thought I'd try them instead of the usual baby red ones. They're good! They have a sweeter and deeper flavor--but not like yams--than the usual red or white boiler. If you can get them, try them. If not, it's a loss, but nothing major.)

For the salad:

6 small red new potatoes (or blue, of available), quartered, quarters then halved cross-wise into chunks
1 pound green beans
1 cup artichoke hearts
3 small tomatoes, quartered, quarters then halved
3 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1/2 cup black olives
2 tablespoons capers, drained
1 large can albacore tuna packed in water, drained and chunked
Mixed greens

For the vinaigrette:

1 teaspoon garlic
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dried tarragon or 1 tablespoon fresh, chopped fine
Black pepper to taste
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Season potato chunks with a pinch of salt and steam. When they can be pierced with a fork (7-10 minutes), place potatoes in a large salad bowl. Repeat with green beans, adding to potatoes in bowl when done.

While potatoes and beans are steaming, make vinaigrette: grind garlic and salt into a paste with a mortar and pestle. Place garlic paste in a shaker container with vinegar, mustard, tarragon and pepper. Add olive oil, cover container and shake ingredients to form an emulsion. Pour dressing over still-hot potatoes and beans. Add all remaining salad ingredients except mixed greens and toss to cover all with dressing. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

To serve, place handfuls of mixed greens on individual plates and spoon salad over top.


Mim said...

Your recipes keep coming. I have a few of them now including Kat's curry to try, so I better get cooking cause cooking for one isn't too much fun.
thanks for your comments this morning re: our situation.
Life is full of them isn't it.
Yes I met Mary through my short blogging life.
And very thankful I can dream and plan and be able to do some things around this place, as we will most likely own this house for a long time. Much to do but that is part of the fun..planning and thinking.
Have you put your planning on hold til things settle down in the real estate market or are you proceeding with your house plans?

Ralph said...

We are exploring financial options, Mim, and proceeding with our plans. It's amazing, the ideas out there when you talk to qualified experts in various fields. Things are in a gestation period at the moment so there's not much to report, but I can say the outlook is a lot brighter than I thought it would be a couple of months ago. Thanks for asking.

Anonymous said...

Do you call this a tuna salad or potato salad? Looks like a meal in itself. Will try it next week.

Ralph said...

It's just your basic salade niçoise, Z&M. With the tuna and the potatoes and the beans, it is a meal in itself.