Rush Hour

There's something very satisfying about enjoying a meal that's both beautiful and tasty. This month, I offer you one that's beautiful, tasty and nutritious!

Salad Nicoise features a buffet-style plate filled with a sweet and sour potato salad, flaky bits of tuna, ripe tomatoes, crispy cucumber, strips of sweet pepper, wedges of hard-boiled egg and some choice black olives. Drizzle the whole plate with a tangy-sweet vinaigrette and you have a plate that's perfect for nibbling off of while relaxing on the back porch.

For a little variety, replace the tuna with grilled chicken, zucchini or portabella mushrooms. You could easily set out all of these ingredients and give your guests lettuce-lined plates and give them the opportunity to put together their own rendition of this light meal. No matter what they add, it's sure to be beautiful -- with ingredients this fresh and colorful, how could it be anything else?

Salad Nicoise

  • 1 lb. potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 lb. green beans, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tsp. honey mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 T. olive oil
  • 2 T. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 T. teriyaki sauce
  • 2 T. water
  • 1 tsp. snipped fresh tarragon
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 medium sweet onion, sliced thinly
  • Lettuce
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, cut into thin wedges
  • 1 medium cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, cut into think strips
  • 1 can solid white tuna, drained and flaked
  • 1 hard-boiled egg, quartered
  • 1/4 c. whole black olives

Boil the potatoes and green beans until the potatoes are tender and the beans are crisp-tender, about 8-10 minutes. Drain and set aside. In a blender, combine mustard, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, teriyaki sauce, water, tarragon and pepper. Process until thoroughly combined.

Toss together the potato mixture, onion slices and 1/4 cup of the dressing. Arrange the potato mixture on four lettuce-lined salad plates along with the tomatoes, cucumber slices, pepper strips, tuna, egg quarters and black olives. Drizzle with remaining dressing immediately before serving.

Variations: Use any of the following to replace or add to the salad:

  • grilled chicken
  • grilled zucchini
  • grilled portabella mushrooms
  • cherry or pear tomatoes
  • marinated mushrooms
  • marinated artichoke hearts
  • corn and black beans
  • yellow or orange bell peppers

Make a terrific summer buffet by placing bowls of the various ingredients in ice and allowing your guests to pick and choose their favorites! Iced tea and warm bread make perfect accompaniments.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes