It isn’t a real Salade Niçoise because it lacks some of the essential ingredients, and also, it has some warm ingredients and the salad isn’t mixed together. However, the inspiration is taken from that Provençal classic. The idea was to get some of those lovely summery flavours onto the plate on a cold March Sunday evening.
So, I used some chicory, lettuce and radicchio to provide the leafy component, which was left cold, and green beans, asparagus, new potatoes, tomatoes, green and black olives and hard-boiled quail’s eggs to be the flavoursome garnish. There was also a nice vinaigrette made with olive oil, chardonnay vinegar, Dijon mustard and a little salt and roughly chopped oregano leaves to add even more Mediterranean savour.
I blanched the green beans and asparagus and then cooled them in cold water and I boiled some Charlotte potatoes in their skins. These were also cooled and cut into pieces.
While the steaks were cooking on a hot griddle, I heated some olive oil in a frying pan and added the sliced potatoes, beans and asparagus and sautéed them for a minute or two. I added the stoned olives and some halved small tomatoes and let these warm through. I added some of the vinaigrette to the pan, using the rest to dress the leaves.
I plated up with the warm part and the leaves separate, so that the warmth wouldn’t wilt the salad, added the rested steak, the halved quail’s eggs and the oregano to finish the dish.