As salad days are upon us and ‘les vacances scolaire’ will soon be starting I thought I would look to the South of France for inspiration – and what better than a simple, healthy, delicious, ‘salade Nicoise’
The French school holidays begin at the end of the second week in June, as opposed to the end of the third week in July as in the UK, and also contrary to UK customs, the French all tend to take their summer holidays during the month of August – whether they have children or not!
This results in a mass exodus and lots of traffic jams, and lots of crowded beaches on the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts………(this also means that there is a mass return – fondly known as ‘le rentre’ when everyone floods back into Paris and returns to work or school – more about this in September)
And Nice is a popular destination and also traditionally the home of the ‘salade Nicoise’
Incidentally if you are planning to visit the Paris region during this period, and not actually staying in the tourist centre of the city, you could find bars and restaurants, and even the boulangerie (quell horreur!) closed during two, or in some cases four weeks during August. Likewise, if you are planning on visiting the French coast during this period, be prepared for a lot of traffic and not much space on the beach!
Speaking of ‘healthy eating’ I was feeling particularly tired and run down recently and I noticed that my skin and hair were not in their usual condition, so went to have some blood tests to see if everything was OK.
The result was that I was low in iodine and iodine is essential for healthy thyroid function, and I had been neglecting to eat a lot of foods containing iodine, including cutting back on salt, which is an invaluable source, and also eating canned tuna preserved in water in place of oil, which destroys the iodine content! Other sources were potatoes (skin on) which are not one of my favourite foods, eggs and green beans – virtually all the ingredients of salade nicoise!
So what better way to give your hair, skin and energy a boost – tastes pretty good too……..
6 crisp lettuce leaves (battave) lightly dressed
A 160g can of tuna in olive oil (drained)
2 large medium/hard boiled eggs quartered
6-8 waxy potatoes steamed until tender preferably with skin on
A handful of green beans (haricots verts) steamed, but still crisp
4 vine tomatoes cut into quarters
slices of cucmber
4-6 black olives
Olive oil and lemon juice (to lightly dress the lettuce)
Salt and pepper to season
Mayonnaise to serve