Sunday, July 10, 2016

A Sure and Certain Comedown for a Show-Off Chef

Monday (tomorrow) is the gala French Conversation group's potluck luncheon, presumably to celebrate Bastille Day on the 14th. 

A sign up sheet went around the group last month for everyone to list what they would bring.  I cockily scrawled "Salade Nicoise" whereupon Madame Arlette, our glorious leader,  let out a girlish squeal of appreciation.  And now the month is gone and the chickens have come home to roost, as it were. 

On the grounds that I wouldn't like to perpetrate an Italian dish as French, I could maybe wiggle out of this because no one today seems to know for sure which country spawned it.  Speculation runs rampant that when Catherine de Medici of Florence married Henry II in 1533 and moved to France, she brought her kitchen staff with her.  She feared that the "meager" French diet would cause her to waste away. 

Michelle, my best friend, taught me the French version and here is what you need and how to plate it.

Take a largish platter and put two cans of drained, chopped tuna in the center of it, carefully mounded in an oval shape.

Then surround it with potato salad, following the oval shape.  You're making a sort of a moat around the tuna.

Garnish the outer rim of the potato salad with fresh green beans that have been steam cooked and tossed in a vinegar-olive oil dressing (add a daub of mustard and a drift of garlic power to the dressing.)

Now garnish the whole thing artfully with:
black olives
halved radishes
Roma tomato quarters
quartered hard-boiled eggs

Do all of the prep work the day before you plan to serve it and assemble it on the day.  The degree of difficulty for this rests on the number of zip-shut plastic bags in your house.  Open the tuna and pack it in a bag - you will forget the can opener; I guarantee you.

Ah, tomorrow - we'll see if my mouth wrote a check my ass can't cover and the sad answer to that, as with many things in a check writing career, will be "Probably not."

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