Nicoise Salad Can Be Paleo and SIBO Friendly

Julia Child has been my hero for decades, for more reasons than her joy in all things culinary. Given my reverence for her, the idea of converting her perfect Niçoise salad into a SIBO-friendly meal for lunch or dinner was not something I entertained lightly.

But then I remembered that old episode where she attempted to flip the potato pancake and it went all over the stove (right around the 2:35 mark). Rather than get discouraged, she wiped up the mess, and challenged us all to approach cooking (and life) “with the courage of conviction.” And so I did.

When cooking (or SIBO) makes a mess out of life, draw on Julia’s courage of conviction. 🙂

Note: if you’re not fond of the canned fish typically used in Niçoise salad (albacore tuna in olive oil, drained), feel free to substitute another firm, cooked fish, including grilled halibut or salmon (a great way to use up leftovers), pan-seared fresh albacore tuna, or even smoked salmon. Or omit the fish altogether for a hearty vegetarian meal.

Salad Ingredients:

2 eggs
2 medium rutabagas
10 green bean pods, ends snipped and cut in half
2 large collard leaves, torn or cut into 1″ pieces (stems discarded)
1-1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1 cup cooked fish as described above
1/4 cup pitted Nicoise olives, whole or sliced in half
2 TBL chopped mixed herbs (parsley, tarragon, oregano, basil, fennel tops, or mint for a real Julia departure)
2 tsp minced chives
1 tsp minced capers

Optional ingredient: 3-4 radishes, sliced thin

Optional ingredient: 2-3 anchovy fillets (I keep a tube of anchovy paste in the fridge; you could alternatively add a small squirt of it to your vinaigrette if you like the flavor)

Vinaigrette Ingredients:
Whisk the following together until well-blended; set aside.

3 TBL cider vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/3 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Peel and cut rutabagas into roughly 1″ chunks. Place into a saucepan with a pinch of kosher salt and enough water to cover by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil and cook for approximately 8-10 minutes, *just* until you can pierce them with a fork (you don’t want them mushy). Remove from heat, drain, and spread out on a plate to cool.

While rutabagas are cooking, put eggs into a saucepan with cold water to cover by about 1 inch. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to medium low (or low depending on gas / electric / size of burner), cover the pan, and set your timer for desired done-ness (using my favorite egg cooking time photo at right). Remove and plunge into cold water for 2-3 minutes before peeling. After peeling, cut eggs into wedges lengthwise.

Rinse out the rutabaga pan, and fill it with 4″ of water, along with a pinch of kosher salt. Cover the pan and bring to a boil. When the water boils, add your green beans and blanch until desired done-ness (I prefer bright green, crisp-tender pods). Using a slotted spoon, remove the beans from the hot water and spread out on a plate to cool. Reserve the hot water for your collard leaves:

Using the (already hot) bean water, place your torn collard leaves into the water. Cover the pot and allow the leaves to sit in the hot water until you’re ready to assemble the salad.

In a large salad bowl, combine the rutabaga, green beans, tomatoes, collard leaves, herbs, and chives.

Give the vinaigrette another whisk to make sure it’s well-combined, and pour over the above ingredients, tossing gently to coat.

Top the salad with the fish, egg wedges, olives, and capers.

Serve with Julia’s characteristic hearty laugh. 🙂

 

 

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