Tuesday, March 29, 2011

N is for Nicoise Salad

I have the most amazingly fond memories involving the Nicoise Salad. It's just a salad, right?

Not so for me.

I have a vivid memory of sitting at a rugged round wooden table nestled in basement of a small Tuscan Winery in Orvieto, Italy. 

The server, who felt a lot like my long lost Tuscan Grandmother, placed this salad in front of me nestled in a beautiful wooden bowl. 

It was filled with fresh red lettuce from her garden outside and loaded with juicy tuna, kalamata olives, tomatoes, hard boiled eggs, and cucumbers. 

Then she took this beautiful carafe of luscious olive oil and generously poured this sweet and peppery liquid all over the top of my salad asking, "Bueno?"

I nodded dumb struck by beauty, then she had seductively caressed a large shapely pepper mill over the savory vegetables once again asking, "Bueno?" 

To which I finally found my tongue and responded, "Molto Bueno, Mademoiselles!"
Before she left the table she refilled each of our wine glasses with a pitcher of Orvieto Pinot Grigio. Which is just simply put one of the most delicate and delicious white wines we found in all of Italy.

This recipe is my attempt to bring each of you this magical moment that is branded into my memory forever. 
You weren't with me that afternoon in the hills of Tuscany.

Sorry about that.

You should have been.

You would have really enjoyed yourself.

But hopefully this will be a close second? 

Oh, and just for health purposes please sip your favorite white wine and relax! 

Alright, on with the recipe for this simple and easy salad.

Nicoise Salad
4 cups Green Leaf Lettuce (like Butter Lettuce)
2 cups Fresh Spinach
1/2 cup Sliced Cucumber
1/2 cup Cherry Tomatoes
1/4 cup Fat Free Feta Cheese
1/4 cup Bacon Bits
1/4 cup Kalamata Olives
1 (6 ounce) can Water Packed Tuna; drained 

Dress with: 

Paul Newman's Light Balsamic Dressing!

1. Find the most beautiful lettuce you can find in the grocery store and tenderly slice it into thin ribbons. Combine with the fresh spinach in a beautiful bowl.
2. Peel your cucumber and thinly slice and lay on top of the lettuce.
3. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half or leave whole if desired and place on top of the salad. Then sprinkle your fat free feta cheese on top.
4. Then sprinkle your bacon bits and kalamata olives on top. Drain your tuna and crumble over the top of the salad. 

5. Serve with my favorite salad dressing Paul Newman's Light Balsamic! Just delicious!

Servings: 4

Nutritional Skinny:

190 calories / 6.3 g fat / 14 g carbohydrates / 1.75 g fiber / 26.4 g protein

Mental Health Tip: Memories around food are priceless.. They bring smiles to our faces, joy to our hearts, and food to our mouths. The great thing about this recipe is that it's really simple and packed with protein and loaded with vegetables to keep us going all day. It's the perfect lunch for a long day or the perfect dinner for worn out families! This recipe is special to me, but we all have different memories...

What is your favorite food memory?

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