Last Wednesday night, acclaimed journalist, author, teacher and multiple James Beard Award–winner Patricia Wells celebrated the American launch of her latest cookbook — Salad as a Meal.

In a candid interview with Food Network star Ina Garten at the French Institute Alliance Francaise, Wells discussed her inspiration behind the book, explaining that in most restaurants in France, salads are not an option as a meal on the menu and found that to be absurd. What’s a girl to do? She set out to make an entire cookbook built around the idea of serving salad as an entrée. One hundred fifty recipes later, Wells conquered her goal!

One of the most important points Wells stressed during the discussion was the importance of using fresh ingredients and letting those ingredients be the guiding force when planning your meals. Lucky for us, with warmer weather on our horizon, fresh fruits and vegetables are popping up in grocery stores, markets and vegetable stands across the country.

Here at ICE, our students are regularly whipping up fresh main-dish salads. This recipe from the second module of the Culinary Arts curriculum — Salad Niçoise — consists of a variety of vegetables topped with tuna and anchovy then mixed with fresh potato salad. If this doesn’t fill you up, I don’t know what will.

Ingredients
Red Wine Vinaigrette:
4 fluid ounces red wine vinegar
6 fluid ounces extra virgin olive oil
6 fluid ounces canola oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Tarragon Vinaigrette:
4 fluid ounces tarragon vinegar
12 fluid ounces extra virgin olive oil
3 fluid ounces canola oil
1 tablespoon tarragon, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

French Potato Salad:
2 pounds red bliss potatoes, peeled
2 fluid ounces white wine
8 fluid ounces tarragon vinaigrette

Salad Niçoise:
2 jars (10 1/2 ounces each) tuna in olive oil
3 tomatoes, cut in wedges and tossed in red wine vinaigrette
3 eggs, hard-cooked, peeled and quartered
3 ounces Niçoise olives, pitted
6 anchovy fillets, soaked for 20 minutes
1/2 pound haricot verts, blanched, shocked and tossed in red wine vinaigrette
1 head Boston lettuce, washed
3 tablespoons chopped fine herbs
2 1/2 pounds French potato salad

Recipe
Makes 4 to 6 servings

To make the red wine vinaigrette, slowly drizzle the oils into the vinegar while whisking. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To make the tarragon vinaigrette, combine the tarragon vinegar and tarragon. Slowly drizzle the oils into the vinegar while whisking. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To prepare the French potato salad, boil the potatoes in a large pot of salt water until tender. Drain and cool, and then cut into 1/4-inch slices. Add the white wine and toss with the tarragon vinaigrette.

Plate and garnish Niçoise Salad components on individual serving plates or on a platter for presentation as desired.

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