Since retiring a few years ago, Dan has taken over some of the meal preparation at dinnertime, which is a relief on days when I’m working on deadline. As I finish work for the day, I’ll often hear clattering utensils, cabinet doors opening and closing, and strains of Andrea Bocelli drifting from the kitchen as Dan conjures up our evening meal.
In spring and summer, he likes to assemble his own version of salade niçoise.
Salade niçoise is a French salad that traditionally consists of tuna, potatoes, anchovies, niçoise olives and green beans arranged on a platter or plate in sections, but there are many variations on the internet, including hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes, radishes, green peppers and various greens.
One year, we found a Cooking Light version of the classic dish that used lean ham, helping us polish off Easter leftovers.
Lately he has been using fresh romaine from my dad’s garden, which forms the bed of the salad. He tops that with water-packed tuna, sliced hard-boiled eggs, steamed green beans, a sliced potato, green and black olives and a few judiciously placed slices of reduced-fat cheese. He serves it with balsamic vinaigrette and toasted garlic bread. Depending on the contents of the refrigerator that day, he sometimes makes substitutions, such as broccoli for green beans.
It comes together quickly and is perfect with a crisp Sauvignon Blanc. An added bonus? The opportunity to enjoy it on our back porch on a balmy evening.