Though from Brittany originally, my father spent the better part of his youth in Nice where he lived on pan bagnat sandwiches and Niçoise salads.
This time of year, when the tomatoes, string beans, baby potatoes and peppers all come together at the market, a classic salade Niçoise seems inevitable. So easy to pull together and so beautiful to present to your guests and with so many distinct sharp flavors that come together like a symphony.
There is much debate about what constitutes a proper salade Niçoise though the general consensus is the ingredient list should include hard-boiled eggs (hello, SOVA FARM) crisp butter lettuce leaves, boiled baby potatoes, barely cooked string beans, anchovies, tuna poached or packed in oil, tomatoes, (barely) hard-boiled eggs, black olives, and red peppers (optional). Some chefs add capers, others go completely rogue and add slices of fresh grilled tuna instead canned or poached.
For a deep dive on this dish, read this. If you want to use canned tuna, I highly recommend the Pole & Line Tonnino, tuna fillets in olive oil and oregano which you can find at local supermarkets. I usually buy several at a time so I can make this salad on a dime in the summer.
Pan Bagnat is essentially a pared-down Niçoise salad packed in a very tall sandwich dripping with olive oil. It's so messy that my dad claimed he would order one from the cafe below his parents' apartment then make a beeline for the docks where he would devour the sandwich, then jump into the Mediterranean to rinse off. Here's a Saveur magazine recipe for this classic Provençal sandwich.
For either recipe you'll need the right olive oil. Kontoulis Olive Oil just happens to be here this week, and the right bread and it just so happens that we have not one but three bread vendors at the market this week. 123 Dough is making their own house pesto made with local basil and they will be sampling it on their focaccia.
Make dessert easy: grab a plum crostata from Nutmeg Bakery and Cafe.
Isn't August gin and tonic month? Well, it should be. Neversink Spirits is in the house this week and their botanical gin should also be in yours.
Pruning season will be here before you know it! Bring your shears to Ready Set Sharp on Saturday.
Spain at Home, the catering leg of the much-acclaimed Ibiza restaurant in town is back at the market this week with their outstanding gazpacho made with tomatoes from Orchard Hill Organics, and their jamón sandwiches made with their house focaccia. Pick up some of their aioli, too, to serve on poached Pura Vida Fish, or boiled potatoes, or to elevate any summer sandwich... including a Harriet the Spy tomato sandwich, made with heirlooms, natch. Best eaten on a dock, is possible.
See you at the market!