This is my favourite way to toss together the amazing flavours of a Niçoise salad and skip the traditional fussy arrangement of the ingredients. My kids aren’t big fans of visible anchovies and don’t know that they’re hidden in the powerfully flavoured dressing loaded with tangy lemon, bright parsley and aromatic basil. They just know they love this salad and I love that it’s a whole meal in a bowl!
Yield: Makes 6 to 8 mains or 8 to 12 sides
For the salad
1 pound (450 g) of baby potatoes, halved
1 pound (450 g) of green beans, ends trimmed and halved
1 pint (500 mL) of cherry tomatoes, halved
1 large cucumber, cut in half lengthwise then into slices
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 cans (6 ounce / 170g each) of tuna, preferably solid or chunk
1 cup (250 mL) or so of your favourite Kalamata style black olives, pitted
The leaves from a large bunch of fresh basil
For the dressing
1/2 bunch of parsley, leaves and tender stems
1/4 cup (60 mL) of extra virgin olive oil
The zest and juice of 2 lemons
A 2-ounce (55 g) can of whole anchovies
2 tablespoons (30 mL) of Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons (30 mL) of honey
2 cloves of garlic, smashed
Bring a large pot of salted water to a full, furious boil. Slip in the potatoes and cook them until they’re almost tender, 10 minutes or so. Add the green beans and continue simmering until a fork easily pierces the potatoes and the green beans have brightened without softening, 3 or 4 minutes longer. Drain the potatoes and green beans and spread them into a single layer on a baking sheet and cool in your fridge.
Craft the dressing while the potatoes and beans cool. Toss the parsley, olive oil, lemon juice and zest, anchovies and their oil, Dijon mustard, honey and garlic into a food processor or blender and purée until smooth.
In a large salad bowl, combine the potatoes, green beans, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, tuna, olives and basil. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss until it is lightly coated and well combined. Serve and share.
Pumpkins are not just for carving into pretty faces they’re vegetables, so you can eat them too! As members of the squash family they’re deliciously versatile, inexpensive and packed with nutrients. Your best choice for cooking though are not the various jack-o-lantern varieties, they tend to be too big and bland. Instead, try this simple yet stunning idea with a few mini decorative pumpkins during harvest. With all this seasonal flavour they’re a great way to fill Half Your Plate!
There are as many ways to roast a chicken as there are cooks. This basic method is my favourite. Roasting the chicken perched on top of a thick bed of vegetables not only helps you prepare an entire meal at once but also guarantees that not a drop of flavour is lost. You can also skip all the normal laborious of slicing by simply shredding the meat into the works and tossing together a pan stew of sorts!