Thursday, July 2, 2009

Vegan Salad Nicoise

Vegan Salade Nicoise

I work in a land where splitting hairs is darn near a job title. In academia, people make their living with sometimes vary narrow expertise. Dissertations hinge on factors as small as that guy believed such and such war was a total failure and I believe it is sort of a failure. In saying this, I am not above it. There are plenty of meetings where I am right there in the verbal melee of splitting hairs. Don’t get me started on the history of cotton…

Food culture has its own level of splitting hairs. Anyone ever said I would only ever eat ____. Most of us have something that is seriously anathema (conventional strawberries, jackfruit only if I am in Asia). One of the really fancy splitting hairs contingent are the cultural purists—those who maintain that certain traditional recipes are only right if they follow ancient prescribed formulas. And here I am torn. Professionally I am totally pro-splitting hairs. And personally, I am con-following food rules. Heck, I eat mango with feta and make ramp kimchi.

Last night we had a vegan salad that is clearly a close friend of salade nicoise. Perhaps her hippie cousin? We dressed the whole thing with olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, mustard and chopped 'fines herbes' ( parsley, chives, chervil, thyme and tarragon); which is all very kosher in the land of Nice. We avoided lettuce as many a purist suggests (demands?). But, we also avoided anything from the sea and eggs for that matter. For protein sources we went with broiled tofu and tomato braised chickpeas. And, it was delicious.

Vegan Salade Nicoise

Vegan Salad Nicoise

First, marinate firm tofu sliced in ½ inch thick pieces:
2 T pomegranate molasses
1t agave nectar
A splash braggs liquid aminos
Olive oil
Chopped chervil
Chopped thyme
Chopped tarragon
¼ cup water
2 T red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic minced

Then, boil small red potatoes, steam asparagus and green beans. When still warm, dress each with olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, mustard, minced garlic, and chopped 'fines herbes' ( parsley, chives, chervil, thyme and tarragon). Chill each separately.

When the veggies are chilling, broil the tofu under a high broiler for 12 minutes basting periodically.

At the same time, simmer chickpeas with red onions, 2 T tomato paste, thyme and cayenne.

Quarter some cherry tomatoes. (I didn’t dress them but just because.) Rinse some radishes.

Scour your fridge for some olives. We only had kalamata.

Arrange and then eat.

Vegan Salade Nicoise

This was also my One Local Summer dish for the week.  Sadly our CSA has had some major problems with their crop but we are still shopping at the local farmers market for our food.  The tofu is from Cleveland Tofu Company, the veggies and the garlic in the dressing were bought at North Union market at Chagrin Falls with the exclusion of the tomatoes, olives and the chickpeas.  My favorite of the veggies were the radishes from Salash Farm.  (This farm has the best spinach too which we bought and used for pizza a few weeks ago.)  The herbs for the salad were from our yard.  The dinner was paired with bread from On The Rise.  


lubnakarim06 said...

Oh wow.......that's a nutritious and healthy salad.....

jillian said...

Traditional or not, this looks really lovely!

Melissa said...

I would love that plate. Steve sadly would not.

Call it whatever you want. It was a good, nutritious, beautiful dinner. What else matters?

I have a real bone to pick about purists and the issue of authenticity. But that's a post of my own for another day.

Sophie said...

I am far from a purist! My husband is definitely one though; he actually gets nervous when he cooks with me because he likes to go by the book :).

Very pretty summer meal. Have a great 4th of July weekend!

~~louise~~ said...

Thankfully, my "splitting hairs" days are over...Your meal looks incredible and that's all that matters to me!!!

A very Safe & Happy 4th to you and yours, MM:)

pam said...

What a beautiful salad. I think I'd probably prefer the traditional with the tuna and the eggs, but you can call yours whatever you'd like!

Anonymous said...

Love the vivid colours of this salad!

Sylvia said...

Wonderful salad and healthy as well-
The photos are beautiful

TS of eatingclub vancouver said...

Nicoise's hippe cousin, teehee. =)

Oh, by the way, I have to try the mango and feta combination! I do apple and anchovies myself.

angela@spinachtiger said...

I know exactly what you mean about food purists. Sometimes I go there myself, but my truer self likes to take the classics and put a spin. Those that shun such spins just don't understand creativity. I think your vegan display is wonderful.

we are never full said...

'hippie cousin'... lol.

i think this is a vegan meal i could do. the chopped chervil is a nice addition - plus your veggies look amazing.

Maggie said...

This looks stunning! I had missed all your beautiful food! I'm not a tuna lover and the tofu and chickpeas sound so much tastier to me. I'll have to make this when my green beans start coming in.

Anonymous said...


Lady Amalthea said...

This looks delightful! Not a purist, I often add lettuce to my Nicoise salads--don't tell the food purist police!

maybelles mom said...

i love adding lettuce too. shush.

anon: i never answered in part b/c of your excessive use of caps. but since i am here, all the ingredients from the pomegranate molasses to the garlic are the marinade items.