Thursday, May 7, 2009

Tuna Nicoise salad sandwich, Splendid Vinaigrette

A sandwich to satisfy a boatload

This sandwich is easy to assemble at home or on board and each of your guests can slice off the amount they want. It may be safest to consider it a "knife and fork" sandwich and offer the necessary cutlery, it can get a little messy.

This sandwich can be made using a store bought baguette, but fresh baked bread makes this especially delicious and the ring shape is unique. To make the choux puff ring follow the directions in the "Pâte à Choux, beignet" post, adding the salt, rather than the sugar.

To make the round, preheat the oven to 450 degrees, and adjust the racks so the tray can be in the lower middle section of the oven.

Cover a baking sheet with silpats (available in Splendid Items). Make sure you have a platter or cutting board large enough to hold the puff ring and sandwich. Use an appropriate sized pot lid (we used one that was 12 inches) as a guide and pipe the warm choux pastry in a circle around the lid on the silpat. Then pipe another circle of dough outside of the first circle, finally, make a third circle of dough on top of the first two. Trays and silpats can be combined to create a surface large enough for the ring of your desire.

The following baking process helps to dry out the dough on the inside of the ring - it can be very damp. If it still seems too damp when finished one can slice the ring open, lay the halves cut side up and crisp them in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes.

Bake the circle in the 450 degree oven for 25 minutes, the circle should puff up about 3x and be nicely browned.
Reduce the heat to 400 degrees, pierce the puff in several places to allow steam to escape.

Lower heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 10 minutes.
Then turn off the heat and leave the round in the oven for another hour or so with the door ajar.
Can be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored for up to 24 hours.

Splendid Vinaigrette

This is a delicious, easy to make salad dressing that complements everything. We make it in bulk and store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. With this to dip into, everyone will eat many more vegetables than they ever intended to.

Roughly, here is the formula: 2 parts olive oil, 1 part tarragon vinegar, a large dollop of Dijon mustard and lots of chopped garlic. Put all of the ingredients in a screw-top jar and shake it up until the mix becomes beautifully emulsified.
Here are some more specific quantities:

1/2 cup of your favorite olive oil
1/4 cup tarragon vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon finely chopped or pressed garlic

Put all of the ingredients in a jar (screw top is best) and shake until it is completely emulsified, smooth, creamy and consistent.
Expand based on proportions or to taste.

Tuna Nicoise sandwich
serves 6-8 people

1-12"-14" choux puff ring or 2 store bought baguettes
1/2 cup Splendid Salad Dressing
2 tablespoons of mayonnaise
1 pound green beans, ends trimmed and washed
6 hard boiled eggs, quartered
4-ripe, firm tomatoes, cut in 1/6ths
1/2 a head of red leaf lettuce, torn, washed and spun
2 tablespoons of capers
3 jars of Italian tuna packed in olive oil

4 tablespoons chopped parsley

Steam the beans over salted boiling water until they become bright green and are a little soft (about 2-4 minutes). Put the steaming basket in a sink, or toss them into a colander and top with a few ice cubes and rinse them with cold water to stop the cooking process.

To assemble the sandwich:

Slice the ring across the center, remove the top half. Position all of the ingredients within reach.

Spread the bread lightly with mayonnaise, scooping out any mayo that fills holes in the bread.

Create a "tossing bowl" where ingredients can be tossed with the dressing.

Toss the lettuce in the bowl, drizzle on a generous amount of the dressing, toss and place the lettuce leaves on the ring.

Open and drain the jars of tuna, toss them in the "tossing bowl" and gently break up the gorgeous hunks of tuna and place them over the lettuce, trying to make sure everything is less than bite-sized.

Place the tomato slices in the bowl and very gently toss them and place them over the tuna.

Sprinkle on the capers and chopped parsley.

Toss the beans in the dressing and place them around the ring.

Finally, evenly distribute the egg quarters on top the ring and drizzle with more dressing.

It's hard to do, but now you must cover that splendid creation with the top of the puff ring.
Serve with bowls of nicoise olives, anchovies and cornichons and plenty of well chilled, crisp Rosé wine.

Tuna Nicoise Sandwich on FoodistaSplendid Salad Dressing on Foodista

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