This classic, colorful salad from the esteemed Julia Child can be customized to your liking.
4 cups mini Romaine lettuce, washed and chopped
1½ cups sugar snap peas
2 cups green beans, trimmed of stem ends
1 pound red potatoes
½ shallot, chopped
1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut into halves
1 (6-7 ounce) can tuna in olive oil
½ cup Niçoise olives
3 hard-boiled eggs
3 tablespoons chopped herbs, such as parsley, basil and French tarragon
Niçoise vinaigrette (see recipe)
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season with salt. Add the snap peas and green beans and blanch for 1-2 minutes. Lift out with tongs and rinse with very cold water to chill.
2. Return the water to a boil. Add the potatoes. Cook for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are just tender when pierced with a small knife. Drain and transfer to a bowl.
3. As soon as the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel if desired and slice thickly. Add ½ cup of the Niçoise vinaigrette and the shallot and gently toss the warm potatoes with the vinaigrette; set aside to cool. In another bowl, toss the snap peas, green beans and tomatoes with 4 tablespoons of the vinaigrette to coat.
4. On a large platter, arrange the lettuce. Add the potatoes, snap peas, green beans and tomatoes. Top with tuna, olives, and capers, if using. Spoon some of the remaining dressing over the salad and sprinkle with the herbs. Peel the hard-boiled eggs, halve them and lay atop the salad.
Variations: This recipe can be modified with an array of seasonal produce, it is especially wonderful with radishes or sweet peppers! You can also try substituting the canned tuna with seared Ahi steaks, or even grilled salmon.