Sunday, December 11, 2005

a life full of tiny olives

One of my favorite places to eat in New York is Le Pain Quotidien, and yes, I know they're all over the place. The beauty of this Belgium (?) restaurant is that the food is never overly complicated, but simply fresh and put together with great appeal. And, of course, great bread.

I mention LPQ because they have the most exquisite nicoise olives. I'm not certain why these tiny olives are so appealing, but they are a delightful addition to just about everything you could imagine them on.

During Thanksgiving I visited a friend who made a fabulous recipe from this cookbook:

He made the fried oysters with andouille sausage and salad and frizzled leeks, which was so delicious, and so entirely out of my repetoire.

For some reason this French bistro style reminds me of Japanese cooking. Japanese cooking often relies on a few clean strong flavors that balance each other. This often makes cooking Japanese food quick, and to my surprise, this lunch of Warm Potato Salad and Nicoise Salad was quick and easy to prepare.

Warm Potato Salad

1 1/2 lb of small red potatoes steamed
2 T olive oil
3 T white vinegar (I used rice vinegar)
2 T dry vermouth (or any dry white wine)
1 t salt
2 green onions minced or bunch of chives chopped
4 stalks of parsley (flat leaf) chopped
2 scallions finely minced or equivalent amount of red onion finely minced

Steam the potatoes for about 20 minutes, pierce to see if they're finished. Potatoes should not be mushy. While potatoes are cookin' mix olive oil, vinegar, vermouth, and salt in a bowl. Mince chives, parsley and scallions and set aside. When the potatoes are finished, in a small bowl toss the potatoes with the vermouth dressing and let sit for about 10 minutes. After that toss with the garnish.

Nicoise Salad

1/2 c nicoise olives
juice of 1/2 of a lemon
3 T capers
1 can of tuna
4 boiled eggs
1 clove of garlic finely minced
1/2 bunch of parsley finely minced
1/2 red onion finely minced
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Boil the eggs for ten minutes. Throw everything in a bowl and mix, pretty much.

I can't keep my hands off the leftovers ...

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