Kitchen Cadets: Nicoise salad
When it comes to coaxing kids to eat greens, being sneaky about it is one way forward. Herbs are packed with vitamins and flavour and the salsa verde in this version of the enduring French-originating Nicoise salad recipe is a healthy addition. The flavour of the green beans is enhanced by light cooking and they must be crisp. The crunch of the beans with the soft tuna and egg is hard to resist.
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- 450g sashimi-grade yellowfin tuna
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 400g kipfler potatoes, scrubbed
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 250g green beans, tailed
- Salsa verde
- ½ cup parsley, finely chopped
- ½ cup basil, finely chopped
- 5 mint leaves, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 tsp capers, finely chopped
- 1-2 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 100ml extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp lemon juice, or to taste
Julian (pictured), aged 10, is poised to turn the tuna in the frypan on demand. Tongs at the ready, and bemused by the fuss, he speedily responds at: "Turn!" The trick is allowing the tuna to brown lightly over the very high heat without letting it cook through. A watchful, doting eye is all-important. As he slices through the soft, pink-centred fish, which is much less "fishy" than the canned variety, Julian beams at the result. Much careful plating of the deconstructed salad takes place and the herb-packed salsa verde is skilfully drizzled.
Heat a frypan on a high heat. Coat the entire tuna fillet in black pepper and drizzle and coat with olive oil. Sear the tuna for 10 seconds each side over the high heat so the outside is slightly brown but the inside still very rare. Remove from heat and set aside. Put the potatoes in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Cook uncovered, until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a skewer (about 15 minutes), then drain. Lower the eggs into warm water and bring to the boil, stirring to centre the yolks. Once simmering, allow the eggs to cook for four minutes, then remove from water and leave to cool in cold water. Drop the beans in boiling, salted water to cover and cook for three to five minutes, until crisp-tender. Drain immediately and refresh in iced water, drain again. Slice the potatoes across into one centimetre-thick rounds and arrange on a serving plate with the beans. Slice the eggs across-ways into four and arrange on the plate, then thinly slice the tuna and add to the top of the salad. For the salsa verde, place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and whisk until well combined. Season and add more lemon juice if desired. Drizzle about three tablespoons over Nicoise salad and store leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge. The dressing will keep for two days.