Sunday, June 3, 2012

Salad Nicoise

I usually keep lettuce, olives, tomatoes, eggs, tuna, and tomatoes on hand.
The other day, I opened my fridge and realized that I had not only leftover green beans, but also leftover potatoes. My mind immediately jumped to salad nicoise,  a summertime favorite. According to most authorities, real salad nicoise—the salad as it is served in Nice, France— does not contain either green beans or potatoes. Hard boiled eggs are the only cooked ingredient. Since I live in Massachusetts, not France, I don't really care if my salad is authentic; I just want it to be good.

And it was good. In general, I followed Julia Child's recipe. Julia Child published her famous cookbook a few years before I got married, and it was one of the first cookbooks I bought. I also used to watch her on television and was mesmerized by her breezy manner, good cheer, and forceful delivery. Her recipes never failed me. Oddly enough, I have not watched a cooking show since that time. No other modern cook seems as entertaining.

While I was eating my salad, I realized that many of the same ingredients (anchovies, black olives, fresh tomatoes, olive oil) go into pasta puttanesca, which I first tried cooking a few months ago. Since I had never eaten it before, I don't know whether I was successful, but I sure enjoyed the results. I guess recipes are like anagrams; you can take a bunch of ingredients, rearrange them, and come up with something totally different.

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