Now that spring has arrived, for the moment, it’s very unpredictable this time of year in Melbourne, Sarah and I have been making this salad for lunches in the sunshine, or for a light dinner.
New season asparagus, long green beans and the pickly crunch of Sicilian olives. It’s so good. The white anchovies were all sold out, so in this shot there are no anchovies laying their silver-seal coloured skins over the boiled potatoes. Instead we made an anchovy dressing, with regular anchovies. Replace the anchovy with a teaspoon of dijon mustard if you are vegetarian, or a little shy of the salty fish. And peel some thin slices of pecorino over the top.
I think our obsession with nicoise (which traditionally has tuna and no potatoes) has grown out of our obsession with hard boiled eggs. For my birthday brunch we had a giant bowl of hard boiled eggs, kasundi, soft cheeses and a basket of baguettes. Simple and satisfying. After the brunch I had so many questions about the boiled eggs. It seems that it’s difficult to get the perfect hard boiled egg. So I offer some instruction from Sean. Apologies if you think it’s the easiest thing ever.
Room temperature eggs, a rolling boil of water in a pot on the stove. If you are boiling the eggs en-masse for a birthday brunch only boil as many at a time as fit in one layer on the bottom of the pot. Then boil for 7 minutes exactly. (The ones in our photo were 6 ½ because we wanted them a little softer.) Run the hard boilies under a cold tap until cold to the touch, this will prevent their yolks from going grey. Then simply peel and throw together in a bowl full of spring vegetables, and salty capers and fish, with a handful of warm new potatoes.
two hard boiled eggs, (7 minutes in boiling water, then straight into cold) peeled and cut into quarters
150g green beans, blanched
a bunch of asparagus, blanched and cut down the middle
green Sicilian olives
Kipfler potatoes, boiled and chopped into bite sized hunks
cos lettuce, washed and dried
parsley, chopped roughly
for the anchovy dressing
2/3 cup olive oil
½ a lemon juiced
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1 anchovy, chopped finely
1 tsp salt
Mix the anchovy dressing in the jar, shake vigorously. Add as much dressing as you see fit, then toss salad in a bowl and eat immediately.