Recipe: Riviera Salad

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Cary, NC — Here’s a light dinner salad that’s filling, uses ingredients you probably already have and brings a taste of the French Riviera to your table.

Riviera Salad

Once upon a time, I had this salad at a hotel in Beaulieu-sur-Mer on the French Riviera.  A few weeks ago, scrounging for items on the weekly dinner menu, it all came back to me.

As the day time temps climbed toward 90°F, I remembered Riviera Salad and searched it up. Sure enough, someone had published a reprint of Julia Child’s original recipe in honor of her 100th birthday.

Good for Dinner Salad on a Hot Day

A good dinner salad must have protein. Riviera Salad has hard-boiled egg and tuna.

The recipe also lists bleu cheese as an option.

The salad part of the recipe has greens, tomatoes, olives and a bit of boiled potato for some starch. In fact, the ingredients aren’t all that special.

That’s why it’s easy to make from stuff you might already possess.

Maybe the dressing is the magic. But it’s just lemon juice, Dijon mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Adaptations

You can adapt Riviera Salad for whatever you have in the house, or to your individual tastes.

Substitute bell peppers for the tomatoes, or shrimp for the tuna. We swap the bleu cheese for feta. If you use chicken instead of the tuna, it’s a Cobb Salad (more or less).

Ingredients: Riviera Salad

(serves 4)

Salad

  • 9-12 oz. of salad greens
  • 8 oz. tuna – two cans of chunk white in water or fresh tuna that you cook in advance
  • 4 eggs – hard boiled
  • 4 small potatoes – boiled with the skin. Red potatoes or fingerlings are nice.
  • 1/4 cup chopped olives – kalamata olives are best
  • 1 cup frozen (or fresh) peas
  • 1 large ripe tomato

Dressing

  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste

Strictly Optional

  • 1/4 cup blue cheese
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds or pistachios

Directions

Prep

Hard boil the eggs. Place 4 eggs in a pot cold water and bring it up to a full boil. Take the pot off the heat, cover, and wait about 12 minutes. Transfer the eggs to a bowl filled with ice water.

Boil the baby potatoes, skins on, uncut, until “fork tender.” That means you stick a fork in and if it’s not soft, it’s not done. Chill the cooked potatoes in ice water.

While you’re boiling the potatoes, cook the peas for about 3 minutes. They don’t need much. I use a strainer and do it in the same pot as the ‘tators.

When you’re ready to make the salad, peel and slice the chilled eggs. Quarter or slice the potatoes (keep the peel on). Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing.

Assemble the Salad

Arrange the salad greens on 4 dinner plates.

Place the sliced egg and bite-sized pieces of potato around the perimeter of the plate.

Put a half-can (about 2 oz) of tuna in the center of each plate. Use a fork to fluff out the tuna (for you Southerns, it’s kind of like you might shred a smoked pork).

Distribute the tomatoes and olives between the tuna and the hard-boiled eggs.

Serve the dressing on the side so everyone can have as much (or as little) as they like.

Voila!

For the French touch, serve with a baguette and a nice, cool White Bordeaux.

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Recipe and photo by Hal Goodtree, adapted from Julia Child’s Riviera Salad.

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