Build-You-Own Nicoise Salad

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What better day than a stormy Sunday to dive into our January kit from Raddish Kids? This month’s theme was Le French Cafe, featuring three French recipes, and loads of information about French landmarks, culture, and culinary skills. Travis’s keepsake this month was his very own spatula, in a cheery bright red. We put that to use for the kit’s dessert, but more on that later!

First up was a Build-Your-Own Nicoise Salad, the classical French salad from Nice. We veganized the salad with Raddish’s suggestion of three small white potatoes (1/2 pound total) instead of 3 eggs. This was a brilliant alternative on their part, whether intentional or not: the featured culinary skill was peeling eggs, but now I could instead share a neat trick with Travis for how to peel potatoes, no vegetable peeler required.

Cut a circle around the circumference of each potato while raw. Cook in boiling water for 15 minutes, then drain. Working under cool running water, rub with your skins and the peels will slip right off!

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We set the potatoes aside, and whisked up a vinaigrette. This was Travis’s favorite part. “Cooking is fun!” he declared, as we gathered everything together (and asked for his Raddish apron, which I’d nearly forgotten!).

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We squeezed half of a lemon into a large bowl, then checked to make sure the juice measured 1 tablespoon.

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Next we whisked in 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon agave nectar, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Dijon mustard was new to Travis, and he loved tasting it.

Now for a real lesson in being a French chef: we needed to emulsify the dressing. While he whisked – as fast as he could! – I gradually added the olive oil.

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We set aside the dressing, and he helped me cut 1 tomato first in half, then into wedges. These went on to a pretty platter.

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Next we drained and rinsed a can of white beans and a can of pitted black olives. We arranged 1 cup of the beans and 1/2 cup of the olives on the platter. Finally, we cut our potatoes into quarters, and added those.

Add 4 cups salad greens to the bowl with the dressing, tossing to coat. Arrange on the platter.

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Now friends and family can assemble their own salads according to taste. Travis didn’t love the beans, but was wild about the rest of it!

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To complete our fun with this recipe card, we read the provided Salad RIddles as he dined, then tried coming up with our own! I also read him the provided info about four of France’s most famous cities. I appreciate that Raddish not only gets us cooking, but sparks conversation ideas while we eat! Stay tuned for more recipes from Le French Cafe soon.

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