Summer days make you crave fresh salads. What could be nicer than a classic such as salade niçoise, complete with that most traditional of ingredients: erm, tinned tuna. Sadly, those salads in smart restaurants that come with fresh, seared tuna are delicious but inauthentic.
What you really need is a tin of John West, apparently – or the French equivalent. Don’t ask me what brand that would be. I haven’t the faintest. It’s not often you’ll find me in the tinned-food aisle at Intermarché.
Black olives, boiled eggs and anchovies are among the other chief ingredients of this world-famous dish.
Combined with tomatoes, boiled potatoes and lettuce, the dish conjures up images of the south of France. Of course, the word ‘niçoise’ means from or of Nice, the capital of France’s most south-eastern département, the Alpes-Maritimes.
Green beans – or haricots verts – are another controversial ingredient of the recipe. Traditionalists turn their noses up at versions that include them. They also favour mesclun greens over lettuce.
Mind you, mesclun greens aren’t something I’m going to be able to find easily in a British supermarket.
I reckon that gives me a good excuse not to stick to traditional tinned tuna either. Fresh fish counter, here I come.