Tuna Nicoise Salad with Goose Eggs
Today, I made a French salad recipe called nicoise salad. I filled the salad with a combination of salad greens, capers, tuna and goose eggs. I was testing the recipe because school is about to start, and I'm not a big fan of the ready-made all-inclusive food trays. They don't contain much except a few crackers and small pieces of cheese and cold meat that are usually packed with salt, sugar and fat.
The salad received two thumbs up from my little munchkin. She loves hard-cooked eggs, which makes folding in the other ingredients much easier. As an added bonus, hard-boiled eggs are easy to pack. If you're planning on making this for your kids, the nicoise salad dressing can be packed separately so the salad is still crunchy and fresh when lunch time finally arrives.
A Pham Fatale reader named Karen left a wonderfully insightful comment last week where she described the challenges of preparing lunches for her kids. While my little munchkin hasn't experienced the teasing from her classmates (yet) even though her lunch box is different from her friends, I understand the issue. It has inspired me to come up with back-to-school recipes that covertly sneak nutritious ingredients into dishes that are familiar to kids. What could be more femme fatale worthy than that?
Yields: 4 servings2 cups combined frisée, Romaine and Rocket salad
1 roasted bell pepper, thinly sliced
3 goose eggs
3/4 teaspoon salt
½ cup garlic and parmesan croutons, store-bought
2 tablespoons pickled red onions (see tips)
1 lemon, cut into small wedges
1 (2.5-ounce) pouch light tuna in water, as needed
2 tablespoons non-pareil capers
½ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
1 cup favorite vinaigrette
For the salad greens: Wash and spin dry the lettuce. Set aside.
Hard-cooked goose eggs: Place the eggs in a saucepan. Cover them with cold water. As soon as the water reaches a full boil, add 1/3 teaspoon of salt. Lower the heat to a simmer. Cook for about 7-8 minutes. Turn off the heat. Cover with a lid and let the quail eggs sit for about 10 minutes. Transfer to an ice bath. Cool the eggs completely. Peel and cut them into quarters.
Assembly time: Place the greens on a serving platter. Combine all the ingredients and distribute them evenly. Season with salt. Drizzle with the vinaigrette when you're ready to serve.
Sprinkle with black pepper.
Serve with lemon wedges on the side.
I used goose eggs, which are a great source of protein, iodine and essential vitamins. In the Vietnamese culture, I've been told that consuming goose eggs is beneficial for pregnant women. Goose eggs are much larger than traditional-sized chicken eggs. Once cooked, the egg whites look more translucent and the yolk is much wider but they really taste very similar to chicken eggs. They're not widely available unless you live next to a goose farm! If you live in the Bay Area, they're available now at Cho Senter market, 2889 Senter Road, San Jose, CA 95111. I
I used non-pareil capers. They are native to the South of France. This variety has a sharp, piquant and briny aroma. I bought them in a specialty store but you can also find them online. I love using capers; they add a nice salty and sour note in sauces and salads. You could also replace them with any other briny ingredients such as olives or pickles.
I love rocket salad (roquette in French); it tastes like a cross between mustard and hazelnut. You can add whatever combination of greens you or your kids prefer.
Pickling onions: Our family loves pickled onions, so there are always some available in the refrigerator. Transfer thinly sliced red onions to a jar. Place them in a jar. Sprinkle with some sugar and drizzle with lemon juice (or any vinegar). Toss well and store in the refrigerator. The longer you wait, the milder they taste. You can keep them for at least 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator.
Packing tip: Place the pickled onions, capers, tuna and roasted bell peppers first at the bottom of your plastic container. Then, top with the goose eggs and finish with the salad greens and croutons. That way the leaves won't wilt by lunch time and the croutons won't turn soggy.
For the salad dressing, it's essential to add mustard, which is a great binder (it contains some lecithin) for a smooth-textured vinaigrette.
Published By: on August 15, 2011.