Here are a few pictures from the dinner I made for my friends Jane and Nancy. Basically a deconstructed Nicoise Salad with Seared Tuna. It’s a great thing to make if you don’t want to heat the place up by having the oven on. Seared Tuna (make sure it is sustainably caught, and NOT Blue Fin) takes all of about 5 minutes to make (2 1/2 on each side for rare which is the best way to eat it). I like to grate a very generous amount of black pepper onto each Tuna steak along with salt and a nice rub down of olive oil. Place the prepped Tuna on a very hot frying pan.
I made a big platter that consisted of a selection of olives, room temperature local tomatoes with lots of fresh basil, still a little soft int he middle hard-cooked eggs with anchovy fillet and a side of garlic mayo, and finally roughly chopped fresh sweet pepper topped with discs of local goat cheese. At the last-minute I drizzled a simple vinaigrette over the tomatoes and peppers. Instead of boiled potatoes I made mashed new potatoes with lots of butter and replace green beans with peas (not a great idea in retrospect).
The Aioli (garlic mayo) goes great dabbed on the eggs but it also is a seductive condiment on the Tuna. Years ago I used to make this dish all the time so as a tip of my hat to the past I made a Dijon balsamic vinaigrette for the tuna, but the mayo would be enough. And because you can never have too many carbs I made cheese biscuits.
To finish the meal off I made a gingered peach upside down cake and vanilla ice cream, but by the time we ate it too much wine had been consumed and I forgot to get a picture.
The key to the eggs I made which I thought were so perfectly cooked — which is to say not under or over cooked – is to place your eggs (however many you are making – I did 4 large ones) into a pot of boiling water for 9 minutes. When time is up plunge them into an ice water bath. Wait a few minutes until they are cool then take each egg and crack it on the counter and put it back into the ice water. After they have sat for a while the water gets into the cracks and makes it easier to peel them.
As for the anchovy, I know for some it is a radical gesture, but because they are just laid on top anyone who is anchovy phobic can easily remove them (I love them and devoured several slathered in Aioli)