We had some last minute guests pop by and stay for dinner last week two nights in a row. Day one, I opened the fridge, and looked around my kitchen countertops to see what I could throw together. I had some fresh tuna I’d bought at the farmer’s market but certainly not enough to feed eight as an entree.
And, because it was late August/early September, I had plenty of peppers and tomatoes. Tuna, peppers and tomatoes and a handful of green beans…hmm. A Salade Nicoise was a no-brainer. Alas, we were out of potatoes. If you’ve been reading these blogs for a while now, you know that in my French family Salade Nicoise was our traditional lunchtime salad whenever we had a tag sale – about two or three times a year. Tag sales were always a family affair and, bang on noon, my French father would bring out a giant Nicoise salad that we’d eat on a folding card table in the middle of our lawn – and sale.
I can’t tell you how many times shoppers asked us if they could “buy” a plate of salad it looked so good. Of course, we offered it up for free, always warning folks that the olives had not been pitted. My father, who grew up in Nice but was born in Brittany, insisted you needed boiled potatoes for a true Nicoise.
I did a quick internet search to see if I was committing blasphemy making a potato-less Nicoise. Lo and behold – David Lebovitz came to my rescue with a recipe that deviated quite a bit from my father’s. No boiled vegetables. Period. I chose to ignore the passage forbidding the use of seared fresh tuna instead of poached or canned. Clearly, Lebovitz never tasted the tuna at Pura Vida. A boule from Wave Hill Breads and dinner was saved.
What did we do the following night? Since David Lebovitz had saved me the night before, I called upon him again and made this tomato tart. I actually made two and served them with a big green salad with lots of bright chives.
Spontaneity can be a beautiful thing. Just ask Chef Mikey Dubiel, our resident forager, who is here this week. Last week he brought some beautiful red chanterelles to Hastings. Who knows what he’ll have this week but make sure to stop by his stall early and ask him for cooking tips regardless.
Meadowhawk Granola is here this Saturday with Blackberry, Almond & Lavender granolas well as her popular Red White and Blue granola made with macadamia nuts, blueberries, strawberries, lemon zest and ginger.
See you at the market!
Pascale Le Draoulec
food writer/ farmer’s market director
author: “American Pie:Slices of Life (and Pie) from America’s Back Roads” (HarperCollins)