Salade Nicoise

When is a salad a meal?  When it's Salad Nicoise.  Nicoise is French for "meal in a salad bowl."  Just kidding.  But served with a toasted baguette or a gluten-free flatbread, this does make a perfect summer meal.  I've tweaked the classic ingredients here, using cherry tomatoes instead of sliced tomatoes, fresh tuna steaks (not pictured) instead of canned tuna and adding small potatoes.  To simplify preparation, the green beans and the potatoes can be made ahead of time.

Salade Nicoise
Adapted from How To Cook Everything, by Mark Bittman
Serves 4-5

1/2 lb green beans, ends trimmed
1 lb small creamer potatoes, washed
4 cups salad greens, washed and spun dry
2 cans tuna in olive oil
3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and halved
1/2 cup good quality black olives, such as Kalamata
1 pint organic cherry tomatoes
3 Tblsp red wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1 tsp Dijon mustard

Boil the potatoes in salted water until just tender when pierced with a fork, about 12 minutes.  Drain the water, leaving the potatoes in the pot.  Cover with a lid and let steam in the pot (burner off) while preparing the rest of the vegetables.

Boil some water and drop the beans in  until bright green, about 3-4 minutes.  Drain and dunk into ice water to stop the cooking.  Drain and set aside.

Arrange the salad greens on a platter, add the tuna, eggs, tomatoes, olives and green beans.  Check the potatoes: when they are tender when pierced to the center, rinse them off in cold water, drain, pat dry and add to the salad.

Make the viniagrette by combining the vinegar, oil, shallot and mustard in a small jar.  Shake to mix.  Pour judiciously over the salad (don't drown it) and serve. Ta da, suddenly you are French!