08 Mar2010

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The crunch of romaine, the “squeak” of haricots verts, sweet tomatoes, protein rich eggs, carbohydrates from the new potatoes, more protein from the tuna and anchovy fillets, salty olives and a shallot vinaigrette make this one of my favorite salads of all time. I can easily consume two dinner plates full of this salad, with or without some crusty french bread for a hearty lunch. As with a Caesar or Cesar salad, I find that a Salade Nicoise is RARELY made well in local restaurants, despite how easy it is to make…

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Since you don’t do much to the individual ingredients, the salad is simply as good as your raw materials. In this case, crisp baby romaine washed and crisped up in a cold fridge. Stunningly fresh and appropriately small haricots verts from Puentespina/Malagos Farms the day they arrived from Davao that were soaked to crisp up, then blanched and plunged into an ice bath and dried. Excellent little tomatoes from several vendors at the FTI Saturday market. Tiny “new” potatoes, boiled fresh hen’s eggs, some grilled capsicum, green olives (unfortunately, I don’t have any real nicoise olives left), some anchovy fillets on the side, and of course, stunningly good canned tuna…

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This premium tuna from the folks at Century Tuna is something I practically covet. I have written about it before, and have used it dozens of times, always extremely pleased with the product. It doesn’t seem to be for sale anymore in local outlets, but friends, family and those who know either of those two can manage to finagle a box or two with a little bit of pleading. :) Last Christmas I was able to purchase a small box with six cans and I have guarded them closely, two cans used in this large salade nicoise. I too have read reports of tuna shortages, so I have NOT purchased canned tuna since December, and last year slowed my consumption of the canned tuna, but I do hope stocks recover as this is one of the best canned foods in the world…

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At any rate, served in this manner, the salad is a bit of a “buffet” of sorts, and guests can take whatever ingredients they prefer to construct their personal salad. The anchovies were served on the side as they are rather strongly flavored and not everyone likes them. This is a complete meal in one dish, and perfect for the hot summer days ahead.

 

COMMENTS:

  1. Jose says:

    Have you tried Rio Mare canned tuna? They’re little pink cans with what looks like crushed tuna soaked in oil (olive oil?) and have a bit of “creamy” texture to them. Great with salads or quick pasta meals. Though im not sure if we have it here I always get mine when my mom comes home from Italy.

    Mar 8, 2010 | 5:05 pm

     
  2. www.triportreats.com says:

    Man, I love a nice fresh stash of Haricots Verts! Your produce indeed looks very fresh. I guess coz there’s so much components to this salad that restos veer awaw from it, coz if it’s not very saleable there are a ton of things that will end up spoiling. Tuna… I like it when they use seared ahi tuna for the salad, but that Century Tuna looks good. I wonder how I can find me some of that, and why does it look so different? Maybe it’s not tuna? hehehe

    Mar 8, 2010 | 5:43 pm

     
  3. Marketman says:

    triportreats, actually, it is the meat from the prime tuna belly, I am told, and it is in much bigger chunks than the typical mashed up pieces in a regular can of tuna. Jose, shock of all shocks, while I love premium Spanish and Italian brands of tuna, a surprising number of them come from no where else but the PHILIPPINES. Yes, the Italian brands often source their tuna here. A friend that visited one of the factories even saw all of the European labels that they can/bottle for clients. So look at the fine print on those cans/bottles to figure out where the tuna was sourced to begin with. :)

    Mar 8, 2010 | 5:46 pm

     
  4. iya says:

    just looking at it makes me feel healthy already. :p

    and nice nice colors! :D

    Mar 8, 2010 | 6:25 pm

     
  5. emsy says:

    i agree with the tuna sourcing. my mother-in-law was so haughty about using “imported” canned tuna but when we saw the label, it was sourced from the philippines. it really does help a lot when you read the label.

    Mar 8, 2010 | 6:53 pm

     
  6. nina says:

    Some of the thai brand tuna I buy here comes from the Philippines.

    Mar 8, 2010 | 7:19 pm

     
  7. Ed B. says:

    For canned tuna those look REALLY good. The regular Century canned tuna is so dry it’s like eating paper/cardboard! I’d give an arm to try that premium canned tuna… T_T

    Mar 8, 2010 | 7:44 pm

     
  8. Connie C says:

    I am sure tuna is not on our menu plate everyday but not to put a damper on us tuna lovers, thought this might be good to know and may explain why Century tuna is getting scarce:

    “This edition Afishianado is all about tuna – perfect timing given the release of the documentary “The End of the Line,” which focuses on overfishing, particularly in the tuna industry. Tuna is one of the most popular fish in the world, but its popularity has driven fisheries around the world into crisis, particularly for prized species such as bluefin, bigeye and yellowfin.”

    http://endoftheline.com/

    Mar 8, 2010 | 9:05 pm

     
  9. Connie C says:

    BTW, I wonder which type tuna Century cans. Albacore, though highly migratory seems to be the one more abundant in Philippine waters but does not seem to be as endangered as the other more prized species.

    I recently visited several fish markets on a drive on a whim along the eastern towns of Oriental Mindoro from the northern tip to the south, a 2-3 hour early morning drive. Every kitchen must be cooking tuna that day as all they had at the fish markets were tuna. Must be the full moon.

    Mar 8, 2010 | 9:32 pm

     
  10. zaN says:

    MM, would you please care to deconstruct the dressing for this salad Nicoise. I am sure, that if I google it, I will find the ingredients for the dressing but I wonder how your dressing will be different. Thanks.

    I made the salad before but substituted roast beast instead of tuna.

    Mar 8, 2010 | 11:14 pm

     
  11. Mila says:

    Would the salad taste the same with the substitution of sardines instead of tuna? Fresh sardines (grilled with a squeeze of lemon) would be best but a good bottled sardine might be a more sustainable choice given tuna scarcity.

    Mar 8, 2010 | 11:15 pm

     
  12. ragamuffin girl says:

    mmmm, this is my fave salad too! I actually munch on haricot verts the way others snack on chips! :)

    Mar 8, 2010 | 11:32 pm

     
  13. betty q. says:

    MM and others: ….NOt to burst oyur bubble but please take note of your tuna intake. I learned from nerve-wracking experience! As I have said before, my son was a few mg. away from outright mercury poisoning! I am talking about only 8 years of eating tuna in any form…salads, sandwiches, SUSHI, etc. I have since resorted to serving smoked BLack Cod or smoked Salmon (which I smoke myself when Black Cod and wild salmon is on sale!).

    MM, You mentioned Century Tuna a long time ago. Ako naman, I rushed out to buy a can at the Pinoy store!…Maybe I bought the wrong kind but I wasn’t impressed by the can of tuna adobo I bought. …not enough tuna in the can. I should have just bought the regular tuna here in chnks and sauteed it or better yet, bought King Mackerel steaks and made it into adobo. At any rate, I am going there (Pinoy store) again and this time try the premiun canned tuna.

    Jose…Ages ago, I bought my tuna at BOSA (Italian grocery store) in Olive OIL…never bothered to look whre it is produced or distributed.

    Mar 9, 2010 | 12:37 am

     
  14. Jack Congson says:

    Recent studies in Canada and the U.S. are raising the alarm on canned white or albacore tuna exceeding minimum mercury guidelines of 0.5 parts per million. The food authorities are not saying to not eat tuna altogether but are just saying to eat in moderation as mercury tends to accumulate in the body. The “Light ” tuna appears to have lower levels. The white or albacore are older fish that have accummulated the mercury longer. Salmon and sardines have stayed below the guidelines and are deemed better substitutes.

    Mar 9, 2010 | 1:02 am

     
  15. betty q. says:

    MM…do you roast your shallots first before making the dressing? …try it! caramelized whole shallots makes a huge difference!

    Mar 9, 2010 | 1:14 am

     
  16. Vicky Go says:

    Flott Italian Tuna in Olive Oil – jar – is guaranteed from yellowfin tuna caught in the Mediterranean, some say better than Spanish Ventresca:

    here: http://www.gourmetfoodexpress.com/flott_tuna.htm

    and here: http://supermarketitaly.com/index.php?page=shop.browse&category_id=82&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=91&vmcchk=1&Itemid=91

    A bit pricey!

    Mar 9, 2010 | 6:07 am

     
  17. Lee says:

    the “squeak” of haricots verts… a very accurate sound/taste/bite description. Not really a crunch and not a squish. This is a description that has escaped me for centuries (century tuna?) Salamat MArketman!

    Mar 9, 2010 | 8:41 am

     
  18. Jose says:

    Haha! I guess I should always read the label. Btw those tomatoes look gorgeous! Have you tried making tabouleh with those?

    Mar 9, 2010 | 10:31 am

     
  19. Marketman says:

    Jose, I didn’t make tabouleh with those tomatoes, but I have featured a post with tabouleh and other mezzes, here.

    Mar 9, 2010 | 11:22 am

     
  20. Marichu says:

    The ahi/tuna served for sushi/sashimi here in the US come from Philippines. I used to work in a sushi restaurant and the ahi blocks had a “Caught in the Philippines” tag.

    Mar 9, 2010 | 11:28 am

     
  21. Joyce says:

    dear bettyq thanks for the tuna warning! i love tuna and tend to cook with it often, will make sure that i dont overdo it. egads, and here i was thinking it was a healthy alternative

    Mar 9, 2010 | 4:35 pm

     
  22. Candygirl says:

    I’ve tried the premium Century Tuna once…unfortunately I cannot remember the taste. Guess that was a long time ago :-p

    Mar 10, 2010 | 12:42 am

     
  23. Hershey says:

    hey MM, if I am not mistaken, they sell some of those canned tunas in terry’s or terrence? not sure, the one below the basement of podium where they sell delicacies :D

    Mar 10, 2010 | 4:51 am

     
  24. Marketman says:

    Hershey, yes, they did to use to sell them at Terry’s. But I haven’t seen them in the Pasong Tamo store lately. Hmmm, if they have them at podium I would make the trip to stock up when I run out… bettyq, regular century tuna is a FAR CRY from the premium cans, no comparison at all.

    Mar 10, 2010 | 7:09 am

     
  25. betty q. says:

    I know now, MM…went back to Pinoy store and asked for Century premium tuna…they don’t sell it since the grocery stores carry the tuna packed in oil or broth or water.

    Mar 10, 2010 | 7:46 am

     
  26. sister says:

    The salad was delicious and the tuna exceptional. You might want to add some sliced red onion and some capers.

    Mar 10, 2010 | 9:41 pm

     
  27. JungMann says:

    At first I thought the picture was of a “Pinoyçoise” salad because the haricots verts looked like sitaw. Perhaps the recipe might work well with good sardines in olive oil, blanched sitaw and itlog maalat subbed for their counterparts in the French classic.

    Mar 11, 2010 | 3:25 am

     
  28. Gia Mayol says:

    Hi, MM. I was able to buy some Century Premium Tuna (chunks in water) in S&R Congressional Avenue yesterday.

    Mar 13, 2010 | 6:10 am

     
  29. wil-b says:

    I love nicoise. . . its a complete meal itself. . . I remember we do a chi chi version before, and instead of flaked tuna we put a good portion of seared tuna steak on top of the salad drizzled with olive tapenade. . . it’s just YUMMMM and one of the bestsellers. . .

    Mar 16, 2010 | 10:56 am

     
  30. vicki2 says:

    I totally love salade Nicoise too. Then a while back, I came across an old US Good Housekeeping magazine that had a brilliant serving suggestion for a big crowd. It pictured a whole platters of Nicoise, but instead of canned tuna, it had a whole slabs of pan-fried salmon, for a more substantial one-dish meal. I do that often now and it’s always a big hit. Remember to serve with additional dressing on the side.

    Mar 19, 2010 | 11:36 am

     
  31. malen says:

    I spotted Century Tuna Choice at Terry’s Salcedo. They were selling at P295 per can.

    Apr 9, 2010 | 1:01 pm

     
 

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