A Fabulous French Meal

Before we left for our vacation, we had the pleasure of having my Aunt Diana stay with us during her visit from Florida. I adore her and always have. She is a wonderful cook and baker and I was excited to finally do some cooking and baking for her.

The first night I made a French inspired meal called Salad Nicoise (I believe it's pronounced "neesh-wa"). The first time I heard of this was during an episode of The French Chef. Julia Child was one of the first people to introduce this delicious meal to the United States. Oh Julia...yet another reason why I love you.

If you prep the ingredients ahead of time and make the marinade in advance, this comes together very quickly once your guests arrive. This dish is beautiful and very impressive! It is a huge and complete meal all by itself and the flavors are simply heavenly. This is a very flexible recipe...use the dressing/marinade recipe and add whatever salad fixings and seafood you would enjoy. I learned this particular recipe from The Kitchen Workshop during one of the grilling classes.

Grilled Seafood Salad Nicoise

*Important: I actually double the dressing/marinade below...I find that I like the extra
  • 3 tbsp red-wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Dijon-style mustard
  • 1 tsp anchovy paste
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme, crumbled between your fingers
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 lb 1 inch thick tuna steak, cut into 6 pieces
  • 1 large yellow squash, cut in half both directions to make 4 long pieces
  • 1 large zucchini, cut in half both directions to make 4 long pieces
  • approx. 9 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 12 large sea scallops, gently patted dry
  • 1 lb green beans, trimmed and cut into 2 inch lengths
  • Lettuce of your choice for lining the platter
  • 1 or 2 bell peppers, cut into large chunks
  • 1 pint red or yellow cherry (or grape) tomatoes, cut in half or quartered
  • 1 cup olives (I left these out because I don't care for them)
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, anchovy paste, thyme, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. Add the oil in a stream while whisking until dressing is emulsified (it thickens and comes together). Begin to heat up the grill.
  2. Divide the dressing in half, putting half in a small bowl and half in a large ziploc bag. Add the tuna pieces, shrimp, scallops, squash, zucchini, and peppers to the ziploc bag of dressing. Let it stand 15 minutes or in the fridge for a couple hours. Put the bowl of dressing aside until later.
  3. Bring a pot of water to boil and add the green beans. Allow to cook for 3 or 4 minutes and then remove from boiling water and rinse under cold water. Once they are dried off a bit, toss them in a tbsp or so of the reserved dressing in a bowl (not the one that is marinading the seafood!).
  4. Grill the tuna steaks 2 1/2 minutes or so on each side (it can be a bit pinkish in the middle...depending on your tastes). Grill the shrimp, scallops, squash, zucchini, and peppers until seafood is cooked through and vegetables are slightly blackened.
  5. To assemble the salad, layer the platter with lettuce. Then add the seafood, green beans, tomatoes, squash, zucchini, and peppers in little rows coming from the center (see picture above). Top with olives and the reserved dressing.
After we had this delicious salad, we finished it off with Cardomom Pear Bread with vanilla ice cream. When I posted the bread recipe, it was made into muffins...but it comes out beautifully as a quick bread and the vanilla ice cream was the perfect addition.

I so enjoyed making this special meal for our very special visitor :)

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