Spring vegetables are such a welcome treat and I have for a long time borrowed from the French and enjoyed the bright green and tender crisp result derived from blanching fresh young green beans, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, and sometimes carrots too!!
Laura Calder of French Food at Home on the cooking channel inspired me to set out a platter of just such vegetables a few weeks ago as she made her version of Salade Nicoise. Traditionally either tuna or anchovy is added to the vegetable platter with a dressing of tarragon vinaigrette. I have made the traditional version before but it didn't work for me tonight.
I collect big old platters and probably have 18 or 20 of them stashed about and this type of a salad is beautiful and appetizing strewn across a lovely large dish.
Ingredients for the dressing:
1 t. balsamic vinegar
1/2 t. Dijon mustard
1/4 t. mashed garlic or paste
juice of 1/2 fresh lemon
4 T. virgin olive oil
fresh ground black pepper
Whisk the vinegar, mustard, and garlic in a small bowl. Whisk in the oil streaming it into the bowl. Add fresh lemon juice and taste to sharpen the flavors. Season to taste.
Ingredients for the salad:
1 head of Bibb lettuce separated, washed, dried, and torn
1/2 pound of slender fresh green beans, blanched in boiling salted water, plunged into ice water, and drained
7-8 baby red potatoes cooked and quartered
2 sliced and halved tomatoes
1 can artichoke hearts drained and quartered
1/2 small red onion sliced into rings
2 hard cooked eggs quartered
salt and pepper
Toss the lettuce with a very little bit of the dressing and arrange as a base for the salad across the platter. Toss the green beans, potatoes, and artichokes separately into a bit of the dressing and arrange on the platter. Add the rest of the ingredients to the arrangement scattering the onion across the top. Drizzle with any remaining dressing.