Olivia de Havilland's Salade Nicoise
For the salad dressing:
2 tbsps. wine vinegar (or lemon juice)
6 tbsps. fine-grade oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard (more if desired)
Few leaves of fresh tarragon
Mix together all the ingredients; blending well. Set aside until ready to assemble salad.
To assemble the salad:
1 lb. fresh small green beans, washed, trimmed, cut in 1-inch pieces
1 small red sweet pepper, cleaned, seeded, cut in thin strips
1 small green sweet pepper, cleaned, seeded, cut in thin strips
1 cucumber, peeled, sliced
2 cans (5-7-ozs.) prime tuna fillet, drained
3 tomatoes, peeled, cut in quarters
12 pitted black olives
1 sweet onion, peeled, cut in rings
2 hearts of lettuce, crisped
2 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and quartered
Place green beans into a large saucepan of boiling water; cook 5 minutes. Drain and plunge beans into ice water; drain and chill. Place chilled green beans in a bowl with strips of red and green pepper, cucumber, tuna fillet (cut in large chunks), tomatoes, olives, onion rings and hearts of lettuce. Arrange to form an attractive mixture in salad bowl. Drizzle salad dressing over salad and add additional amounts of salt and pepper to taste. Serves 4.
Thoughts: If desired, salad can be assembled on a decorative glass plate. The additions of small peeled new potatoes and capers make delightful variations of this French classic. Delicious with sour dough bread, chilled white wine, and strawberries lightly dusted with powdered sugar for dessert.