Monday, March 22, 2010

Pesach Salads (Part II): Salad Nicoise and Classic Caesar Dressing

Click here for Pesach Salads Part III (easy homemade mayonnaise) and Part I (superfood chopped salad with an amazing citrus basil vinaigrette).

At our amazing salad making class at Ohab Zedek last week, we revisited the classic salad nicoise, which makes a delicious first course salad for a formal Pesach lunch. Above, my friends Emma and Sarah model the Salad Nicoise that they made.

Because it has hard-boiled eggs and tuna (dagim!), it provides a fresh and delicious alternative to a plain salad with fish on the side. I also recommend either the classic nicoise dressing, or, to be crazy, serve it with a classic caesar dressing. There's nothing like a classic caesar dressing and it's very easy to make kosher for passover, as long as you have a whisk. Get a whisk if you don't have one, it's worth it!

Classic Caesar Dressing

4 anchovy fillets, or more, if you prefer a strong anchovy flavor (if you are not using a food processor, press the anchovies through a garlic press or mince small)
2 egg yolks (or 2-3 tablespoons pasteurized egg)
1/4 teaspoon salt (to taste)
1/4 teaspoon pepper (to taste)
1 lemon, juice only
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (good quality)
2 garlic cloves (pressed or minced very small)

Combine garlic, anchovies and egg and whisk until you have created a paste (this is very easily done in a food processor, and requires a little elbow grease if done by hand). Add lemon, spices and stream in olive oil while whisking. Taste and correct seasoning. If you have used a food processor, you may wish to thin the dressing with a bit of water, as it sometimes creates a mayonnaise-like consistency (or, you may like it this way). Whisk again before serving.

Salad Niçoise

A composed salad is something special. It is arranged, rather than simply tossed together. This salad can take a number of forms, from a tower of fresh greens to an artfully arranged sunburst of color on a plate. It can also be layered in a trifle bowl. The end goal is to plate a more formal, elegant looking salad, which shows your family and friends that the course they are about to eat has been made specifically for them. With composed salads, it is important that all the individual parts of the salads have been seasoned well, so they taste good both on their own, and together.

2 heads romaine lettuce, washed
½ cup cooked new potatoes, tossed with chopped parsley, olive oil, and salt
½ cup tuna per person, canned or fresh
1/8 cup red onion, sliced thin
1 hard boiled egg per person, quartered
20 olives
4-8 tomato wedges
2 tbsp chopped chives (for garnish)

Salad Niçoise Dressing

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tbsp chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste
1-2 tbsp mustard (kosher for Passover mustard is very difficult to find and the kind you find may not be so great. You may wish to serve a caesar salad dressing with your Salad Nicoise or replace the mustard in the dressing with homemade garlic mayonnaise).

Combine ingredients and whisk.

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