Walking up to the farmers market on Saturday I found myself overwhelmed by the amount of summer produce set before me. What does a foodie like me do in such a situation? Why, overindulge, of course. Summer’s fruits and vegetables don’t stick around long enough on the East coast to practice self control. Unlike the West coast, precious local tomatoes and perfect green beans are available for only a few months and I’d been impatiently waiting all year for them to make an appearance at the market. Soon, my arms were full of breads, tomatoes, corn, beans, herbs, peaches and figs and I waddled home to scour my food magazines and figure out what to do with my bounty.
I came upon a recipe for Provencal Salad from an old copy of Gourmet Magazine that looked too good to pass up. The following was inspired by, but is not an exact replica, of this recipe:
First make a dressing by combining 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, 1 large minced garlic clove, 1/2 teaspoon sugar and salt and pepper to taste. Slowly whisk in 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil. Set aside. To make the salad, boil 1 pound of fresh purple beans (or green beans) for about 5 minutes so that they are cooked but still a bit crunchy. Shock the beans in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process and then put them in a large bowl. In the same pot of boiling water, cook 1 1/2 pounds of yellow and/or red potatoes that have been cut into 2 inch pieces. Cook for about 10 minutes or until they are fork tender. Drain and set aside in a separate bowl to cool. When the beans and potatoes have cooled, combine the two and add 1 pint heirloom cherry tomatoes, 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, about a handful of drained capers and a handful of chopped parsley. Drain 2 cans of tuna and flake over the salad. Pour on the dressing and stir gently to combine. Serve salad with chopped hard boiled eggs.
I opened a bottle of chilled rose wine (my summer wine of choice) to serve with this dish-it was a pairing that made me slow down and savor every bite and consecutive sip. The Ponte Fiorella, a dry rose wine inspired by the roses from France’s Bandol region, would be fantastic with this dish. Enjoy this recipe and, by all means, enjoy your local farmer’s market this summer. Next week: I tackle a Korean-inspired dish.
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