I got another rejection first thing yesterday morning because I continue to be a sucker who checks her e-mail right after opening her eyes. The editor didn’t connect with the characters. I’m not someone who blatantly rejects criticism and thinks my writing is flawless. I also understand that sometimes a reader just doesn’t click with a book. Having said that, I’m genuinely puzzled about how someone wouldn’t be able to connect with a motley crew that includes a Jewish witch, an ex-punk, a mythical mud monster, and a talking spider. Sure, they’re weird, but if Robot Chicken can be a thing, why can’t this?
Also, apparently a close friend just signed a book deal with this very same editor. I’m super happy for my friend, and they’re very talented but damn. Ain’t that a kick in the teeth?
Anyway, in my continuing journey of focusing on something other than the fact that no one wants this book, I made a Salade Niçoise for lunch. I haven’t had one in years, and it was delicious and made me feel like I was in a touristy-but-tasty café on the Promenade des Anglais with my parents instead of a one-bedroom apartment I can’t bring myself to vacuum. Granted, my apartment is nice, but I’d rather be in Nice with my dad and his aloof sunglasses and my chatty dead mom, except, you know, not dead. I spent chunks of my teens in Nice, so I have an attachment to it I’ll never be able to shake.
If you, too, want to go to Nice but can’t, I’m sharing a recipe for the salad. There are very, very heated debates about what goes into a Salade Niçoise, but I used this recipe and modified it based on my own memories and preferences. This salad definitely requires some prep, but it’s totally worth it.
A SALADE NIÇOISE RECIPE!
Servings: 1 because you deserve it.
Dietary info: Gluten- and dairy-free, but not vegan or vegetarian
- 1/3 cup lemon juice, white-wine vinegar, or red-wine vinegar (I used lemon juice and weensy bit of Balsamic because my vinegar situation is weird.)
- 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp finely chopped shallot (Only use if you’re a monster who likes onion.)
- Liberal amounts of Herbes de Provence and/or fresh thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (I hate mustard but it’s crucial and ends up tasting great.)
- Cheryl James and Sandra Denton, as needed (Google it, I’ll wait.)
- 2-3 cups of whatever lettuce (You can use anything except Iceberg, but many people prefer butter lettuce)
- 1 can of tuna (Yes, really. Don’t get frou-frou with tuna steaks. If canned tuna is good enough for the French, it’s good enough for you.)
- 1 hardboiled egg, halved (I like to snack on hardboiled eggs, so making them in batches helps.)
- 1 normal-sized potato or 2/3 cup of tiny potatoes, boiled (Fingerling, red, Yukon gold, fingerling, whatever. Anything but Idaho. If you get bigger potatoes, cut them into bite-size pieces.)
- 1/2 cup cooked green beans
Additional Ingredients I Skipped But You Might Like
- 1 ripe tomato, quartered
- 2 tbsp Niçoise olives (Don’t bother with other kinds of olives because they’re just not the same.)
- 3-4 anchovies
- 2 tbsp red onion (gross)
- 2 tbsp green onion (gross)
- 2 sliced radishes
- 4-5 cucumber slices
- Make sure all your ingredients are cold or at room temperature.
- Pro tip for the green beans, egg, and potatoes: Once you cook them, immediately dunk them in ice water to cool them down to room temp.
- Make a bed of lettuce. Group all of the salad ingredients together on top of the lettuce.
- Stir the vinaigrette ingredients together vigorously, taste, and adjust ingredients until you’re satisfied. It will make way more than you need, but you’ll want to keep it around for other salads because it’s so tasty.
- Drizzle vinaigrette liberally on top.
Here’s a picture of my salad pre-vinagrette. It wasn’t the cutest, but damn was it good:
Someone else’s nicer photo of a Salade Niçoise:
Wherever you are and wherever you want to be, I hope you enjoy your lunch.
(Feature photo credit: Mae Mu via Unsplash)