Smoked Tuna Salade Nicoise

   I’ve been wanting to do a nicoise salad for awhile, but I only get my fish and seafood from one place in town. For one reason or another, my life gets busy in other ends of town and can’t get there. Today, I made a point of going there for a variety of seafood. One of the main things I wanted, thinking nicoise salad, is tuna. In this case, I wanted smoked tuna because this shop carries a canned smoked tuna that is smoked in a generations long traditional way from the same family and hand packed in the cans. The flavour is massive and worth the trip.

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   They use only sustainably caught albacore tuna from the North Pacific in their product. And you can tell a deft hand is involved when it’s not packed in a bunch of oil or water and it still maintains a beautiful natural moisture.

   To add to this intensely flavoured tuna, I wanted a wide variety of flavourful vegetables besides the traditional potatoes and beans: corn, peppers and tomatoes. Along with hardboiled eggs and lentils (a little Canadian twist in place of olives. I figured that the smoked tuna was salty enough) and a plum vinaigrette, the variety would be delicious together.

Smoked Tuna Salade Nicoise

For the Crispy Potato Wedges:

2 medium starchy potatoes

2 tsp cold pressed canola oil

1 tsp salt

   Preheat the oven to 200C/425F with a baking sheet in the oven as it preheats.

   Cut the potatoes into wedges no thicker that 1cm (1/2″) at its thickest. Toss with half of the oil in a bowl. When the baking sheet is preheated along with the oven, place a piece of parchment paper on the pan (careful it’s hot!!), drizzle the remaining 1 tsp of oil and spread the potato wedges in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes on one side, turn the potato wedges with tongs and roast for a further 8-10 minutes until deeply golden. Toss with the salt and set aside (the remaining steps can be prepared during the potato’s roasting time).

For the Blanched Vegetables:

1/3 cup fresh corn kernels (the amount of corn cut from one whole cob)

1 cup green beans, ends trimmed off

   In a small pot of boiling water, blanch the green beans for 4-5 minutes, until crisp tender. Remove the green beans from the boiling water and immediately plunge into ice water. Blanch the corn kernels in the boiling water for 3-4 minutes and remove with a slotted spoon or drain away the water through a sieve, keeping the corn kernels. Set aside.

For the Hardboiled Eggs:

2 large eggs

   Place the eggs and enough water to cover in a small pot and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 10 minutes exactly. Take off the heat and run the pot under cold water to cool the eggs down and stop the cooking process immediately. Peel, cut into quarters lengthwise and set aside.

For the Plum Vinaigrette:

1 red plum, pitted and cut into rough chunks

4 tsp rice vinegar

1 Tbsp cold pressed flax oil

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

   Place all of the vinaigrette ingredients into a blender or food processor and purée until smooth. Set aside.

For the salad:

8 cherry tomatoes, halved

1/4 cup cooked lentils

80g/3 oz canned smoked tuna (or regular tuna if smoked tuna isn’t available. If you don’t live in Edmonton, check out the company’s website to order directly here)

1/2 bell pepper, thinly sliced

Prepared Crispy Potato Wedges

Prepared Hardboiled Eggs

Prepared Blanched Vegetables

Prepared Plum Vinaigrette

   On two plates, lay out the Crispy Potato Wedges in a radial pattern. In between each potato wedge, lay out a couple of blanched green beans, pepper slices, Hardboiled Egg quarters and tomato halves. Mound some blanched corn kernels in the centre of the plate with another smaller mound of smoked tuna on top. Scatter some cooked lentils around the entire plate. Serve with the Plum Vinaigrette in a bowl on the side to drizzle over at the table. Serves 2.

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