Salad daze

Salad niçoise, but without the egg or Frenchness

Astonishing! I’ve had a request from a reader of this morning’s post for the recipe for the salad pictured here (not, I might add, as another wag pointed out, for the bowl of succulents and shells). As she’s in a particularly un-salady phase of her life at present, through no damn fault of her own, I am more than happy to share a bit of mild food porn with her.

So – it was Tuesday night, the silver fox was sulking on the sofa with a bad case of post-boating-weekend-induced man flu, and I’d eaten too many post-check-up Coles Anzac biscuits with tea over at Mrs F’s.

As usual, after too much sugar, trans fat and sitting down, I crave but two things – a brisk walk with an amiable chocolate labrador, followed by a hefty bowl of something fresh and green (but not succulent).

A salade niçoise was what I fancied. Too easy, I thought, smirkily, having stopped off on the way home to pick up some heinously expensive green beans from Parisi’s in Rose Bay, until I looked in the fridge and realised there was but one egg, a half-eaten tin of tuna, and some dodgy-looking greenery.

No matter – I managed to cobble together a totes delish dinner (eaten toute seule in the courtyard on that balmy nightas the fox didn’t stir from his feverish slumber until morn).

I am a good cobble-togetherer. I put it down to my being a lazy and erratic cook, and a haphazard shopper. I am frequently able to conjure gold from dross – although I draw the line at any kind of alchemy involving sow’s ears.

I adhere, more or less, in my cobbling, to the fashion rule espoused so forcefully by Steve Martin’s shrill and shiny girlfriend in LA Story, which I watched again in joyful solitude last weekend, while the fox was getting hammered both nautically and alcoholically on a rocky boat. Wear no more than seven items (though apparently this has now been reduced to five, according to my girlfriend, Kate, who is au fait with that sort of thing). And if in doubt, look at yourself quickly in the mirror and take off the first thing you notice.

Nuts and herbs occasionally have me reaching for that proverbial mirror, in the salad scheme of things. But what the what – rules, of course, are meant to be broken. Which is why I’m likely be issued an infringement  by the salad police with the following recipe.

No matter. This one’s for you Caroline. I hope that, even if you can’t eat it, you’ll enjoy licking the computer screen. And there’s plenty more where this one came from.

The I Can’t Believe It’s Not Niçoise Niçoise Salad

With apologies to Nigella and Audrey

Serves 2 (or 1 straight out of the bowl in front of Masters of Sex)

1. Place the cooking music of your choice on the stereogram*.

2. Using the slow-motion setting, shower some torn salad greens from a great height into a large bowl.

3. Next, add a goodly handful of soundly chopped parsley, a flushed and well-drained can of cannellini beans (discard the can), some small potatoes, boiled, drawn and quartered, and a Croesus’s fortune of green beans, steamed to bitey softness.

4. Swearing continuously, fossick around for 10 minutes under the sink for a small, clean jar with a lid that fits, then add a dollop of Dijon, a frisson of white balsamic dressing and a slop of extra vertiginous olive oil.

5. Make a double entendre while screwing the lid on, then shake it to the core or until the contents resemble the spun-gold tresses of Rapunzel.

6. Using your hands and whistling softly, toss through enough of the dressing to coat the salad mixture like a Chanel suit.

7. Scatter over the contents of a half-eaten can of tuna, then drape with a little more of the dressing.

8. Retire to your corner and serve immediately with Sonoma sourdough, a glass of something soothing and a healthy appetite.

*We used Pandora Radio, available free on your computer.