It’s summer and bikini weather is rapidly approaching, so it’s the prime time (or rather more like the last bell…) to start losing of some of this winter fat. Many of you have already started, I’m sure, but some of us aren’t that forward thinking or driven so we are taking a baby steps towards beach fashion.
If you have read Ana’s post from Tuesday about “how to lose weight without dieting” you will know that Champagne Girls are now all about it.
So keeping with the healthy mood I’m going to share with you one of the best salad recipes I’ve tried. Seriously. It’s a classic French Niçoise salad but with extra oomph. The one I make is a Simon Hopkinson recipe. I should warn you, he is rather anal about “how things should be done” so to make sure it will work you will need to follow the recipe pretty much to the letter. The only additions or changes I make (after few trials) are added potatoes – and I use lettuce instead of chervil – which you can’t get anywhere for love nor money.
It’s an absolutely delicious dish – probably the best Niçoise you’ve ever had: healthy, nutritious and an elegant meal for a summer lunch or dinner eaten outdoors. All you need to add is a loaf of campagne bread and a bottle of good southern French white or rosé.
This meal serves four and provides 470kcal, 14g protein, 9g carbohydrate (of which 8.5g sugars), 41g fat (of which 7g saturates), 4g fibre and 2.9g salt per portion. (Simon’s calculations but I trust him). What’s important is that every ingredient is as good quality as possible.
For the dressing
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled, finely chopped
- 175ml/6fl oz extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- pinch of sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
For the salad
- 4 free-range eggs
- 8 small artichoke hearts, cooked
- 4 very ripe tomatoes, skinned and quartered
- 16 black olives
- ½ cucumber, peeled, sliced
- 4 spring onions, sliced
- handful of fine green beans, topped, tailed, blanched
- 1 tin anchovies in olive oil (or 1 tin good quality tuna belly in olive oil)
- 1 tbsp freshly chopped chervil, small handful fresh basil
- 12 jersey royal potatoes
- 2 heads of gem lettuce
- For the dressing, whisk the garlic and oil together in a bowl.
- Place the eggs into a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring up to the boil, switch off the heat and leave for five minutes. Cool under a cold running tap for 2-3 minutes and then peel the eggs.
- For the salad, arrange all of the salad ingredients (except the chervil and basil) in a shallow dish. Pour over the vinegar and garlic oil and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Finish with a sprinkling of chervil and basil and serve at the table.
If you want to stay with the Southern French theme get some good Provençal or Rhone wine – both white or rosé will go with the dish. This will allow you (after closing your eyes) to imagine you are in the Côte d’Azur.
My proposition as an accompaniment is Domaine Staint-Esteve Chardonnay.
Beautiful un-oaked southern French Chardonnay – crisp but lush and fruity, very aromatic with tropical fruit salad aromas – pineapple being a dominant accent, with a light touch of ripe mango and a satisfying clean finish.