Thursday, September 26, 2013


I was at the supermarket, getting a few things for dinner, and I spent about ten minutes looking for that a perfect tomato, that’s all just one perfect tomato and there was none to be found.  

Maybe my expectations are high because I keep seeing all these photos of lovely garden tomatoes being posted on Instagram.  I hate to say it, but I’m totally envious of those perfect tomato posting Instagrammers!

I’m sure that the fellow working in the produce department was just being nice when he asked me how I was doing and did I find everything that I was looking for. 
But I let him know how I was doing, that I was disappointed that the stores only ever get hot house tomatoes any more.  That at this time of year we should be getting lovely field tomatoes which have way more flavor than hot house tomatoes.  Hot house tomatoes are for winter, when we can’t grow tomatoes outside, in the ground.

The poor man just looked at me with a confused smile and didn’t know what to say.

I realized that I had just caused all this awkwardness so I smiled at him and told him, “I know that it’s not your fault.”

To which he replied, “I just want you to know that I do care.”

Well thank you produce man for listening and caring, and I’m so sorry for making you feel uncomfortable!

Any hoo…How about this salad?  I’ve mentioned it before that when I’m entertaining I like to keep things simple so that I can enjoy my guests when they come.  That’s why I love to serve a big salad.  A big salad with tuna is even better; a big salad with seared tuna is extra special.  I prep and assemble the salad before said guests arrive, but I don’t dress it, cuz nobody wants soggy lettuce.  Right before service I sear the tuna, which takes about 3 minutes to cook.  

I mean just look at this salad!  Who is gonna be disappointed if this is put in front of their hungry face?
Place this salad down and the table will erupt into applause…okay may be not applause, but there will definitely smiling, happy faces, and you will most definitely hear ooohs and aaahs!

Here's what you do.

First make the Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette.

I used my mini processor, a food processor or a blender also works well.

Add to the bowl, some shallot, garlic, fresh lemon juice, Dijon mustard, white balsamic vinegar, honey, salt and pepper.

Give it a little blitz.

If using a food processor of a blender, just slowly stream the olive and canola oil through the top of the machine with the machine running.

A mini processor does not have a place in the top to stream oil through, so I add the oil a couple of tablespoons at a time, replace the lid, and turn the machine on high after each addition.
You're gonna need some eggs as well.  Here is how to boil the perfect egg.

Roast some creamer potatoes with some olive oil, Herbs de Provence, salt and pepper for 35 minutes at 400 degrees.

Also roast some asparagus in a single layer with some olive oil, Herbs de Provence, salt and pepper for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.
Marinate some tuna steaks by sprinkling each side of the tuna with Herbs de Provence, salt, pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil; keep in the refrigerator until about 15 minutes before you're ready to sear the tuna.

I like some tomato wedges and thinly sliced onion.

I assembled my salad in advance so that all I had to do was cook the tuna when my guests arrived, so I didn't dress the lettuce.

If I were serving the salad immediately, I would have tossed the lettuce with a little of the vinaigrette.

Lay the veggies and the boiled eggs in an attractive manner over the lettuce.

This will keep in the refrigerator for a few hours if need be.

Remove the tuna steaks from the refrigerator about 15 minutes before you're ready to cook them.  The tuna steaks cook quickly, and if the tuna is straight from the fridge, it will be cold in the center when it's served.

Get a skillet nice and hot over medium-high heat.

Lay the tuna steaks in the hot skillet.

Cook the tuna for about 1 1/2 minutes on each side; you can see the line on the side of the tuna that lets you know how done it is.

Remove the cooked tuna to a cutting board and slice the tuna into about 1/2 inch thick slices.

Lay the tuna on the top of the salad and pour a little of the Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette over the top; go ahead and toss a hand full of Nicoise olives over everything.

Enjoy with a nice baguette.


Serves 4

1              lb.           Creamer potatoes (small, thin skinned potatoes), washed
1              lb.           Asparagus
4 ½          Tbsp.       Olive oil, divided use
1 ½           tsp.        Herbs de Provence (or Italian seasoning)
                             Salt and pepper
1 ½           lbs.         Tuna steaks
6              cups        Romaine lettuce, torn into bite sized pieces
2                           Tomatoes, cut into wedges
½                          Medium red onion, finely sliced
4                           Hard-boiled eggs, cut in half length wise
½              cup        Nicoise olives
                             Lemon Mustard Vinaigrette, recipe follows

   1.       Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
   2.       Place the potatoes in a single layer in baking dish or sheet pan.  Toss the potatoes with 1 ½ Tbsp. olive oil, ½ tsp. Herbs de Provence, and ¼ tsp. each of salt and pepper.  Roast in a hot oven for about 35 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.
   3.       Trim the woody ends from the asparagus, and then lay it in a single layer on a sheet pan.  Toss the asparagus to coat with 1 Tbsp. olive oil, ½ tsp. Herbs de Provence, and a scant ¼ tsp. each of salt and pepper.  Roast in the hot oven for about 15 minutes.
   4.       To marinate the tuna steaks; season both sides of the tuna by drizzling the remaining 1 ½ Tbsp. olive oil, and sprinkling the remaining ½ tsp. Herbs de Provence, and a generous amount of salt.  Set that to the side for about 15 minutes.
   5.       Assemble the salad before searing the tuna.  Lay the lettuce in the bottom of a large shallow bowl or a platter (if you like you may toss the lettuce with a little of the vinaigrette); lay the roasted potatoes, roasted asparagus, tomatoes, onions, and sliced eggs in an attractive manner on top of the lettuce.  I like to leave the center for the tuna.  (Up to this point may be done in advance and refrigerated until you’re ready to serve, just don’t dress the lettuce yet.)
   6.       Now to sear the tuna, get a heavy bottomed skillet hot over medium-high heat.  When the pan is really hot add the tuna steaks.  For medium rare tuna, sear it for about 1 ½ minutes on each side; just enough to get a caramel color on the outside.  You will see by looking at the side of the tuna how cooked it is.  Allow the tuna to rest for a minute or so.  Remove the tuna to a cutting board and slice into about ½ inch thick slices.
   7.       Lay the tuna in the center of the salad and sprinkle the olives over the top and drizzle a little of the vinaigrette over the top.  Serve the remaining vinaigrette on the side.  Serve immediately.


1                            Shallot, minced
1               clove       Garlic, minced
½                           Lemon, juice of
1 ½           Tbsp.       Dijon mustard
½             Tbsp.       Honey
3              Tbsp.       White balsamic, or white wine vinegar
1/8           tsp.         Salt
1/8           tsp.         Pepper
½             cup         Extra virgin olive oil
¼             cup         Canola oil

   1.       Into the bowl of a food processor or a blender add all of the ingredients except for the olive oil and canola oil.
   2.       Put the lid on and give it a blitz.  With the machine running add the oils in a steady stream.  If using a mini processor, just add the oil a couple of tablespoons at a time, blitzing with each addition.
   3.       Allow the flavors to marry for at least 30 minutes.  The vinaigrette will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks.

 You may also like:

Porter House Steak Salad with Sherry Vinaigrette
Shrimp and Soba Noodle Salad

Roasted Vegetable Salad with Roasted Shallot Vinaigrette