Niçoise Salad in Two Phases

First off, a quick reminder that my sister Jennifer has started How To Peel An Onion, a food blog with great photos included. The latest recipe entry is for a mildly zesty Quinoa with Scallions.

On Tuesday I decided to slap dinner together, using the sausage that Kimberly had left to defrost in the sink. It's starting to get hotter around here (irritatingly, it's drier here than it is in most of the South), so I decided a filling salad was in order. Or two filling salads on one platter.

I basically threw together a niçoise salad in two phases. Here's a link to the French wiki on the salade niçoise, which rejects the use of potatos and cooked veggies in the salad. The English wiki slavishly follows that, in fact, it just translated the French entry. Amusingly enough, the only recipe the wiki links to includes potatos, so a fig to them. Anyway, the three key ingredients to this nicene salad are the tomato, the boiled egg, and the potato (and usually tuna, but I used sausage).

The salad on the right in the photo is boiled potato, peas, and brussels sprouts. This sort of salad should be very lightly dressed. And by "this sort of salad" I mean a meal of crudités, as opposed to a salad to open a meal. There's a very little bit of salt, a drizzling of olive oil, and about a quarter cup of white wine poured over it.

For the salad on the left I first cut two large onions into rings, and soaked them in lightly sugared water while I prepared the rest of the salad. Onions taste much milder without losing any crunchiness when soaked in water. But since I'd found that Kimberly still avoided the onions when soaked, this time I added a little sugar to the water. It worked out really nicely, I thought, but Kimberly still put the onions to the side. As the onions soaked, I sliced the tomates and boiled eggs, cubed the mozzarella, and added cucumbers. Each cucumber was cut into thirds, and I sliced each third lengthwise. These pieces interacted with the quartered eggs and tomatoes a little better than the circular slices would have. I tossed it all together, peppered liberally, drizzled with olive oil, and slapped it on the platter.

There are three kinds of sausage surrounding this salad: a spicy italian, a mild italian, and a spicy chorizo. The salad was not chilled. The sausage was warm, and everything else was just room temperature, which I think allows the eater to enjoy the flavors more, and to linger over the food.

There you have it, boys and girls. And just in time for summer. Oh, and when you hit my sister's blog, try serving that quinoa recipe cold. It's fantastic that way.