My infatuation with Jamie Oliver is escalating. What started as mild disinterest is now a full-on passion. I was very kindly given Comfort Food for Christmas and am gearing up to cook something from that soon (pregnancy makes everything very slow) but the other night I was cooking for my mother and husband both of whom are trying to be virtuous in January and I'm very aware that the bump isn't getting its 5 a day so I randomly picked this Salad Nicoise from 15 minute meals. No potatoes and no egg but supremely delicious and finished by three of us and pretty easy to cook (and no it didn't take me 15 minutes but I'm a pretty slack cooker). Will be cooking this again and again - nice tuna steaks aren't cheap but the rest of the ingredients are and you can use what veg you have in your fridge.
There were quite a few things I tinkered with on this recipe, for example I'm not a huge fan of green beans and couldn't get the mixed green and yellow from the recipe so I used half beans and half broccoli tips.Where I've made changes I hope I've made them clear - I think the thing with salads is they are endlessly adaptable depending on what you have and like. I also refuse to serve anything on a board so I did this on one big platter... as you can see from the picture.
Griddle Tuna Salad
350g mixed green and yellow beans (or half green and half broccoli tips)
½ a baguette (I used a small one from Sainsburys)
12 black olives (Jamie says stone in, I say stone out)
3 ripe mixed-colour tomatoes (or red ones)
1 romaine lettuce
20g feta cheese
Tuna and Dressing
1 big bunch of fresh basil
6 anchovy fillets
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 x 200g tuna steaks (about 2.4cm thick)
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 heaped tsp wholegrain mustard
1 tsp runny honey
You will need a medium sized saucepan with a lid, a griddle pan and a liquidiser/magimix.
1. Line the beans up and cut off the stalks, put them into a pan of salted boiling water and put on a lid (I did my broccoli and beans for the same length of time).
2. Slice the baguette into 2cm chunks and, if you are following Jamie put onto the hot griddle pan. I think basting them in a tiny big of garlic oil pre-griddle would be lovely. Turn when golden.
3. Pick and reserve 10 baby sprigs of basil then rip off the rest of the leaves and blitz in the liquidiser with the anchovies, juice of 1 lemon, the extra virgin olive oil and a splash of water.
4. Pour about 40% of the dressing on to a nice serving platter (Jamie uses a separate one for the dressing and tuna and then places the whole lot on a board with the salad. I used one big platter and it worked very well).
5. Rub 10% of the dressing into the tun and season with salt and pepper. Pour the rest of the dressing into a big bowl with the vinegar, mustard and honey then mix together. Drain the cooked beans, remove the stones from the olives. roughly chop the tomatoes and add to the dressing and mix together.
6. Put the tuna on the griddle pan and cook for 2 minutes on each side or until blushing in the middle. How you cook your tuna is a matter of personal preference.
7. Chop the lettuce into 2cm chunks, tear the toasts into croutons and arrange over a large board (or on the platter) with the lettuce. I think it's nice to toss half the croutons in the bowl of tomatoes and dressing so they get a bit soggy.
8. Scatter the dressed beans, olives and tomatoes over the top. Tear each tuna steak in half or more and add to the dressing platter (or put on top of the dressing in the centre of the platter if you are not using a board).
9. Scatter over the reserved basil leaves, crumble over the feta and serve with lemon wedges (if you remember).