And we’re back! How was everyone’s week? New York was a blast, of COURSE. The Big Apple! (I made sure to call it the Big Apple all the time out there, so everyone knew I was a local and therefore knew the city’s nickname.) Here is where you can read some unconnected things I saw and experienced out there. EXCITING. Anyway, let’s get back to this project because we have literally eight billion recipes to cook and we’re running out of time! WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?
Last night was Monday Night Football, so you know what goes well with that: Niçoise Salad! Actually, I just wanted to do something easy to get back into it, as well as knocking out two recipes in one, since Gwyneth so helpfully separates the salad from its Chive Vinaigrette. But things quickly backfired, because this was NOT EASY IN THE SLIGHTEST. And on top of that, it just tasted horrible! I’m not sure I’m ready to relive this yet, but let’s get to it.
I started by steaming red potatoes and green beans, which is always something I love to do. I don’t know why, but steaming vegetables is so fun! What a hilarious way to cook things! They just kind of hang out in a little basket, suspended over some water, in their own vegetable sauna. While the vegetables sweat away, I heated up a grill pan on another burner and rubbed my beautifully pink tuna steak with some olive oil, salt, and pepper. I slapped it on the grill pan and let it cook away, taking some time to pour myself some wine because of course.
YES. SO BEAUTIFUL.
But! No time to relax, because I quickly realized I had forgotten to prepare red and yellow roasted bell peppers! I know how long these take, so I quickly fired up the two open burners on my stove and got the peppers roasting. While the room filled up with the always-welcome smell of roasting bell peppers, I had the sudden realization that I was using four burners on the stove to make a salad. A SALAD. FOUR BURNERS. This is just absurd.
Gradually, I moved things from the stove to the countertop — the grilled tuna steak was set aside to cool, as were the steamed veggies, and the roasted peppers were set in a metal bowl with plastic wrap on top, to cool and soften. But we’re STILL NOT DONE, because I forgot to hard-boil some eggs. So I got three eggs a-boiling, which, if you’re keeping track, means this salad took a grand total of five burners on the stove to make.
Can’t I just eat this and say it’s good enough?
While everything cooled, I prepared the Chive Vinaigrette, which was a little bit of Dijon mustard, an equal amount of real Vermont maple syrup (???? In salad dressing???), white wine vinegar, olive oil, and diced chives whisked together. Another easy recipe in the books! If I hadn’t just spent the past hour and a half making a ridiculous salad, I would have felt much better about this god-awful project.
Finally, after days of cooking, I could plate. I tore up some butter lettuce and topped it with the roasted peppers, grape tomatoes, Niçoise olives, and green beans. Around the plate, I placed the red potatoes and hard-boiled eggs, while layering the salad with the sliced tuna steak and anchovy fillets, topping it all with the vinaigrette. YIKES, THAT’S A LOT OF STUFF ON ONE PLATE.
Is “Niçoise” French for “enormous pile of bullshit?”
I basically had to climb into a helicopter to capture the size of this monstrosity.
So, how did it hold up? I HATED IT. Oh, god, it was horrible. Now, I should point out that I’m not really a huge fan of olives or anchovies, so there are two strikes right off the bat. But the main problem I have with this dish is that it’s so busy. What the hell are you supposed to eat? It’s impossible to have a single bite that includes all the components of the salad, so you’re forced to try to pair things that you think may go well together: Should I eat an anchovy with an egg? Or is that disgusting? Do potatoes go well with tuna steak? It was impossible to actually enjoy this salad, because I was constantly stressed, thinking, “Am I pairing everything correctly?” and then second-guessing myself when each bite proved to be horrible.
This was my first-ever taste of Niçoise salad, and I’m worried Gwyneth has ruined it for me forever. And you know what the worst part is? She has a SECOND recipe for Niçoise salad in the book. Kill me.
So glad to be back!