by Maren on January 29, 2013

Hi Lovelies. How is your Tuesday treating you so far?

Salads… the predicament of salads.

Photo 1I like salads… actually I borderline love salads. It’s not an uncommon sight to see me chomping weeds like Bambi. But something about Salad Week has really turned me off.

Maybe it was the hummus incident. Those damn chickpeas!

I don’t know, but to get to the point it’s now the second week of salads and I made the “Composed Salad” for dinner last night. It was fun. Everything tasted great. Turns out I’m a boss at cooking Tuna on my cast iron grill…. but I’m still not all hot-and-bothered for Salad Week.


So let’s quit all this jibber jabber and get to the recipe already.

Salad Nicoise and Quick ‘N’ Dirty Vinaigrette Dressing

Spike teaches this recipe. It makes 4 servings and takes ~30 minutes.



    • 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
    • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
    • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
    • 1 strip of lemon peel
    • Kosher salt
    • Freshly Ground Black Pepper


    • 1/2 lb green beans, blanched
    • 4 hearts of romaine, grilled
    • 4 small boiled red bliss potatoes, skin on, cut in half
    • 2 roma plum tomatoes, sliced into wedges lengthwise
    • 4 hard boiled eggs, peeled and cut into halves
    • 20 pitted Nicoise olives, I couldn’t find Nicoise so I used Kalamata
    • 1/3 red onion, finely sliced
    • 2 Ahi Tuna steaks, thawed (or 1 sushi-grade tuna steak)


Combine all vinaigrette ingredients in a jar and shake vigorously until emulsified. Set aside and allow garlic and lemon to infuse the vinaigrette while you prepare the salad.

Heat a large sauce pan over medium high heat. Once boiling add potatoes and eggs to water. Boil the eggs for ~13 minutes and remove. Continue boiling potatoes another 3 minutes, until a knife will stick in and pull out easily then remove and set aside.

Heat a large griddled skillet over high heat and add oil. Season the tuna with salt, pepper and olive oil and place on the hot pan searing each side for 10-12 seconds on each side. Remove the tuna and set aside to rest.

Fill a sauce pan with water and heat to medium high eat. Heavily salt the water. Place green beans in the boiling water for a few minutes. Then remove and immediately place in a bowl of icy water. This is BLANCHING people. Shock the green beans to leave them crispy.

Remove the outer leaves from the Romaine Hearts. Rinse the remaining heart, cut off the dark green leave tips and the base. Place on the grill and rotate every few seconds to get a nice sear on the outer leaves. Remove. You can give each person a whole romaine heart or you can slice all of them and compose the greens on a large salad plate like I did.

Take a large platter and compose the greens on the plate to form a base layer. Sprinkle with sliced red onion then arrange egg, tomato, and potatoes on the plate so the ingredients are all evenly spaced apart. Slice the tuna and add to the platter. Finish by arranging pitted olives in the gaps around the salad.
Season with salt and pepper and drizzle vinaigrette over and around the plate.


I know my mother is fantabulously happy that I left her kitchen this way.

Things I did in this recipe that I’d never done before…

  1. I blanched something.
  2. I seared tuna steaks
  3. I boiled multiple things together

When I watched the video Spike told me it was okay to boil multiple things together to save dishes. LOVE THIS CONCEPT!

Spike you are my culinary hero!

I’m saving this Quick N Dirty Vinaigrette Dressing recipe on a Post It slapped on the inside of my pantry door. It’s delicious and so easy.

I may or may not have been dipping potatoes and green beans directly into the jar and munching them while I cooked… definitely not.

This is my…


Hello, I just BLANCHED something


And this is my…

I’ll leave you this Tuesday with a delicious NEEEEES-WAHHHHHS salad recipe. Enjoy the day!


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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Alex @ therunwithin January 29, 2013 at 10:28 am

wait I actually had no idea you could boil things together, that blows my mind. and dude that is one killer salad


Sonia the Mexigarian January 29, 2013 at 10:59 am

Oh wow, the salad looks so hearty and yummy! How long did it take you to put it all together including prep and cook?

Is Donner wearing one of them “non pulling” leashes? It looks like what we put on Lando when he was a pup and would pull pull pull on walks. Wearing that he stopped pulling but he hates wearing it.


Kelli H (Made in Sonoma) January 29, 2013 at 11:28 am

The salad looks great, but I always avoid Nicoise because it looks like so much prep for a salad. haha.

I miss your wine of the weeks. You should participate in them!


Nikki January 30, 2013 at 7:27 am

One time I went to Spike’s pizza shop in DC and he was there! I got a picture of him!


Miranda @ Biting Life January 30, 2013 at 9:35 am

Wow, that salad looks awesome!! You are quite the cook, my dear!

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to Nicoise like a normal person again, hahaha.


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