Life in a Northern Town

Nicoise In A Jar On Long Island

The phone rang at 9 am and I knew it was Renee. We talk nearly every morning and our conversations always revolve around food—Good Thyme food, dinner food or food we want to eat. One of the remarkable things about our friendship is our penchant for cooking the same thing at the same time— we are definitely psychic food sisters.  She was watching the Today show and saw Martha Stewart making Nicoise Salad in Mason jars and thought it would be the perfect beach meal. Oddly enough, I dreamt about canned Italian tuna (I really love it) the night before she called. I knew we were on to something.

I always have Cento tuna in olive oil, kalamata olives, fingerling potatoes and eggs from Spirit Creek Farm on hand. I needed to pick up spinach, green beans and a few tomatoes— I was on a tight time schedule and needed to throw dinner together quickly. The boat was leaving the harbor at 5:30, sharp. Remember what I mentioned about salads in the Emmylou post? They are the only meal I can make and still be on time (relatively speaking). Dinner on Long Island was looking better and better by the minute. I made a simple vinaigrette, assembled the lovely little jars, loaded up a cooler and headed out to another beautiful summer night on the lake.

There were a ton of kids out there, from 6 to 17 years old. They herded up and swam, staged chicken fights and played on the beach— what an amazing childhood they will carry forward. It is almost unbelievable to me, the perfection of an evening on Long Island.  Regardless of my frame of mind when I am leaving the mainland, I always return refreshed and deeply grateful. What a gift to have a reset button that involves water, sand, good friends and food right outside my door.

Nicoise Salad In A Jar

Four 3.5 ounce cans of Cento tuna in olive oil 4 eggs, hard-boiled and sliced 2 tomatoes, chopped 8 - 12 fingerling potatoes, boiled 3/4 cup pitted kalamata olives 1 cup green beans, steamed until tender firm 1/4 cup salt cured capers, rinsed 2 cups spinach, washed and dried

Vinaigrette

2 tbsp shallot, finely minced 2 tbsp Dijon mustard 1/2 tsp salt (more to taste) 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper 1/2 tsp fresh thyme 1/4 tsp fresh rosemary 1/2 tsp fresh chives 1/2 cup red wine vinegar 1 cup good olive oil

While the potatoes and green beans are still warm, toss them with olive oil, Maldon sea salt and preserved lemon (you can substitute lemon zest).

Combine all ingredients for vinaigrette, except for olive oil, in a blender or food processor until combined. Slowly add olive oil until the dressing is emulsified. Taste for salt and pepper and set aside.

Toss each salad ingredient with salad dressing (except spinach) and set aside. Don't use too much dressing, you want the salad components to be lightly dressed.

Layer the salad ingredients as follows: spinach, tomatoes, potatoes, green beans, eggs, spinach, tuna and olives in a Mason jar.