Salade niçoise

Recipe by Leslie Brenner

If you're making this for two with the idea of having the leftovers the next day, ignore the part that says to drizzle on some of vinaigrette. Instead, pass it to dress each plate individually, so the salad keeps better.

Serves 4. 

4 eggs

3/4 pound haricots verts, trimmed

1 pound small red potatoes

1 Bibb or Boston lettuce, washed and torn

1 head red-leaf lettuce, washed and torn

3 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges

2 jars (6 or 7 ounces each), of oil-packed tuna, or two 5.9-ounce cans of oil-packed or water-packed tuna

1/2 cup niçoise olives

16-20 salt-cured anchovies

For the dressing:

4 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 medium shallots, minced

Freshly ground black pepper

1. In a small saucepan, cover the eggs with cold water. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, cover pan and let sit for 12 minutes. Run the eggs under cold water to stop cooking. Peel and set them aside.

2. In a medium saucepan, cover the potatoes with cold, salted water. Bring to a boil over high head, reduce heat to medium and cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, 15 to 25 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes. Drain and let cook.

3. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil, drop in the haricots verts, and cook till just tender, about 4-5 minutes. Drain and shock in ice water or run under cold water to stop cooking. Drain and pat dry. 

4. Make the vinaigrette: In a smallish bowl, whisk together the vinegar, Dijon mustard and salt. Slowly whisk in the olive oil, then stir in the shallots and a few grinds of black pepper.

5. Cut the eggs in quarters. Cut the potatoes in half or quarters, depending on their size. Arrange the lettuce on a large platter or shallow serving bowl. Arrange the haricots verts, potatoes, tomatoes and olives on the platter. Drain the tuna and mound it in the center. Lay the anchovies here and there, and set the egg quarters around the periphery. Drizzle the haricots, tomatoes and potatoes with a little of the vinaigrette of you like, and serve the salad, passing the a pitcher with the rest of the vinaigrette separately.