**Salade Niçoise Recipe with Crispy Green Beans**
*Salade Niçoise* is a classic French dish originating from the city of Nice. It's a vibrant and delicious salad that combines various fresh ingredients, and the star of the show is often the perfectly cooked green beans. Here's a traditional recipe for Salade Niçoise that includes tips on how to keep the green beans green and crispy during boiling.
For the salad:
- 2 cups fresh green beans, trimmed
- 4 cups mixed salad greens (e.g., lettuce, arugula, spinach)
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 4 hard-boiled eggs, halved
- 1 cup canned tuna, drained and flaked
- 1 cup boiled new potatoes, halved or quartered
- 1/2 cup black olives (preferably Niçoise olives)
- 1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons capers, drained
- Fresh basil leaves for garnish
For the dressing:
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
1. **Prepare the Green Beans:**
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- While the water is heating, prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice and cold water.
- Once the water is boiling, add a generous amount of salt. This helps maintain the beans' color.
- Add the trimmed green beans to the boiling water and cook for about 2-3 minutes until they are bright green and crisp-tender.
- Immediately remove the beans from the boiling water and transfer them to the ice bath to stop the cooking process and lock in their vibrant color. This method is called blanching and shocking.
- Once the beans are completely cool, remove them from the ice bath, pat them dry gently with a clean kitchen towel, and set them aside.
2. **Assemble the Salad:**
- In a large serving dish, arrange the mixed salad greens as the base.
- Arrange the blanched green beans, cherry tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, tuna, boiled potatoes, olives, red onion, and capers over the greens in neat sections.
3. **Prepare the Dressing:**
- In a small bowl, whisk together the extra-virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, minced garlic, salt, and pepper until well combined.
- Drizzle the dressing over the assembled salad or serve it on the side.
- Garnish the salad with fresh basil leaves for a burst of flavor and aroma.
- To ensure the green beans stay green and crispy, make sure to blanch them briefly and immediately transfer them to the ice bath.
- If using frozen green beans, you can follow the same blanching and shocking method, but the cooking time might be slightly longer.
- Feel free to customize the salad by adding or omitting ingredients based on your preference. Some variations include anchovies, bell peppers, or even radishes.
Enjoy this refreshing and nutritious Salade Niçoise as a light meal or a vibrant side dish for any occasion!