Six O’Clock Solution: Niçoise salad offers crunch and colour in mere minutes

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The traditional salad Niçoise, which originated in Nice in southern France, rates as convenience food when you consider you can assemble it from the refrigerator or pantry to produce a meal-in-one platter of crunch and colour in mere minutes.

And it’s good for you, writes Montreal dietitian Vanessa Perrone, author of the handsome and authoritative new cookbook Everyday Mediterranean (Appetite by Random House, $32.95; in stores Dec. 26).

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Versions of this salad often include green beans, olives and anchovies. Her easy-to-read introduction gives a good rundown of the benefits of eating a diet heavy in vegetables and fruit, the fat from olive oil rather than meats and plenty of grains and fish. She offers more than 90 recipes, photographed by Ariel Tarr. Recipes include whether a dish is gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, vegetarian or vegan.

The term Mediterranean covers what Perrone, of Italian background, calls a lifestyle rather than a diet. It was a half-century ago that nutritionists discovered people living in Crete and southern Italy had low rates of chronic disease and lived long lives. Their diets — long on fresh foods, short on animal fat — was dubbed Mediterranean. This book tells a readable story about a reputable diet that’s easy to enjoy in North America. This salad “eats like a meal,” Perrone says.

Tuna, egg and potato salad

Serves 4

4 eggs

4 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut in wedges

3 tablespoons (45 mL) extra virgin olive oil


Freshly ground pepper

4 Roma tomatoes, quartered

2 green onions, sliced

¼ cup (60 mL) finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

4 cups (1 L) chopped romaine lettuce

Juice of ½ lemon

2 cans tuna (80 or 85 g size), packed in olive oil, drained

Place eggs in a small saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, cover and let stand 12 minutes. When ready to make salad, peel eggs and cut in half lengthwise.

Place potatoes in a medium saucepan, cover with cold, salted water and bring to a boil. Cook for 15 minutes or until fork-tender. Drain and place in a large bowl. While still hot, drizzle with 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of the oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Let cool.

Add tomatoes, green onions and parsley, turning to distribute ingredients.

Add lettuce, the remaining 2 tablespoons (30 mL) oil, the lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss, and top with eggs and tuna.

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