We’re in the thick of it now. Temperatures below 40, freezing rain and this California girl is ready to pack up and go. What depresses me most about winter is not the cold or the darkness, it’s the lack of fresh vibrant local produce. Farmer’s markets retreat to community center basements where pretty potatoes and beets are the highlight. You sort of half-smile at the farmer with a table filled with shallots and sweet potatoes.
More roasted root vegetables…thrilling.
No tomatoes, no peaches, no luscious greens for us in New England. But with a little creativity and the frozen food aisle, a very bright and very springy potato salad can kick that Seasonal Affect Disorder right between the sad eyes. As you may know, Niçoise salads take a little more prep than your average salad but the result is hearty and delicious, unlike the butter lettuce and balsamic unsatisfying crap you made for dinner last night (how were those mealy plum tomatoes?).
This salad lasts for 3 days in the fridge and there’s no lettuce so there’s nothing to wither away. Boil the potatoes and green beans a day before if you want to save time. I found beautiful rose colored and purple baby potatoes but any small potatoes will work.
Easy Winter Niçoise Salad
1 lb. baby potatoes (fingerling or the smallest you can find)
3/4 lb. green beans (the thin French sort are best)
1 cup frozen sweet corn kernels
1 small shallot, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
1/4 cup chopped pitted salty olives (Kalamata or oil cured)
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
pinch of salt and pepper
Defrost the corn by running it under hot water for 3 minutes and allowing it to soak for 15 minutes. It should end up at room temperature and ready to use.
Bring 6 cups of salted water to boil in a medium-sized pot. Add the potatoes and cook for 15 minutes or until tender. Remove and run under cold water.
Steam the green beans by bringing 1 cup of water to boil under a steamer basket. Steam for 3-4 minutes until just barely tender. Run under cold water and set aside.
Cur the green beans into 2-inch pieces, slice the cooled potatoes into 1/4 inch thick slices and toss gently with the corn, chopped parsley, sliced shallot and olives.
Use a fork to mash the the anchovies into the olive oil until almost completely combined in a small bowl. Whisk in the red wine vinegar, mustard and add salt to taste. If anchovies aren’t your thing, skip them and use a little more mustard.
Toss the dressing over the vegetables and serve at room temperature or chilled.