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Nicoise Goes Fishing

March 26, 1997|CHARITY FERREIRA | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

A fresh, colorful Nicoise salad for four arranged on a large platter makes an abundant and beautiful presentation ideal for warm spring weather.

This variation on the traditional Salade Nicoise uses broiled trout fillets in place of the usual tuna. The fish is served on a plate of vegetables--mixed greens, thinly sliced red onions, capers, olives, quartered new potatoes and blue lake beans--dressed in a red wine mustard vinaigrette.

It's a composed salad, whose parts are arranged on a bed of greens rather than tossed together, and is plenty of food for a main course. A creamy, mild-flavored goat's milk cheese and warm, broiled nectarine halves sprinkled with Sherry and brown sugar finish the meal.

Menu (30 MINUTES OR LESS)

Trout Salade Nicoise

Goat Cheese Plate

Broiled Nectarine Halves

COUNTDOWN:

30 minutes before: Preheat broiler. Bring pot of water to boil for cooking vegetables. Fill bowl with ice water for cooling vegetables. Season trout with salt and pepper.

25 minutes before: Chop tarragon, mash garlic, slice onions and place in water to soak. Blanch and shock beans.

20 minutes before: Halve potatoes and cook in boiling water. Mix vinaigrette. Assemble dessert.

8 minutes before: Broil trout.

4 minutes before: Remove trout. Place nectarines under broiler while assembling salad.

Just before serving: Remove nectarines from broiler. (Nectarines may also be put under broiler during dinner to be eaten fresh out of the oven after the main course.)

INGREDIENTS

STAPLES

Brown sugar

Butter

Dijon mustard

Garlic

Olive oil

Pepper

Red wine vinegar

Salt

Granulated sugar

SHOPPING LIST

1 pound green beans

2 ounces capers

3/4 pound mixed greens

1/2 pound black or green olives

1 red onion

12 small red new potatoes

4 nectarines

1 bunch tarragon

2 large or 4 small trout

TROUT SALADE NICOISE

RED WINE MUSTARD VINAIGRETTE

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 clove garlic, minced

3 tablespoons chopped tarragon

Salt, pepper

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

SALAD

2 large or 4 small whole trout, cleaned and filleted

Salt, pepper

1 red onion

1 pound green beans, ends trimmed

12 small red new boiling potatoes

3/4 pound mixed greens

3 tablespoons capers

3/4 cup black and or green olives such as Nicoise or Picholine

RED WINE MUSTARD

VINAIGRETTE

Combine vinegar, mustard, garlic, tarragon and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk in oil in slow, steady stream. Taste for seasoning. Makes about 1 cup dressing.

SALAD

Preheat broiler and bring large pot of salted water to boil for cooking vegetables. Fill bowl with ice water for cooling vegetables.

Season trout fillets with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

Thinly slice red onion and soak slices in cold water. Blanch beans in boiling water until just tender, 60 to 90 seconds. Remove beans and place in ice water briefly to shock; remove and set aside.

Cut potatoes in halves and boil gently until tender when pierced with fork, about 15 minutes. Dress potatoes with 2 to 4 tablespoons Red Wine Mustard Vinaigrette.

Drain onion slices and toss beans and onions separately with vinaigrette.

Broil trout, skin side down, until fish is cooked through, 2 to 5 minutes.

Distribute greens over large platter. Arrange trout fillets among leaves. Add marinated vegetables, capers and olives. Lightly drizzle entire salad with remaining vinaigrette.

4 servings: Each serving:

578 calories; 1,074 mg sodium; 36 mg cholesterol; 36 grams fat; 47 grams carbohydrates; 21 grams protein; 3.30 grams fiber.

BROILED NECTARINES WITH BROWN SUGAR AND SHERRY

4 soft, ripe nectarines

1 tablespoon butter

8 teaspoons brown sugar

8 teaspoons sweet Sherry

Cut nectarines in half, remove stones and place, cut side up, on baking sheet. Divide butter among halves, placing little in each cavity. Add 1 teaspoon each Sherry and brown sugar to cavity of each nectarine half.

Broil 4 to 6 inches from heat source until topping is bubbly and fruit softened, about 5 minutes.

4 servings. Each serving:

155 calories; 133 mg sodium; 9 mg cholesterol; 9 grams fat; 9 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams protein; 0 gram fiber.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

SHORTCUT

*It can take about 10 minutes to clean (remove head, tail, top and bottom fins) and fillet (slice in half lengthwise) a fish. To save time, ask the person behind the fish counter to do it for you. When you're ready to cook, you'll simply have to season the fillets and stick them under the broiler. It's best to cook the fish the same day you buy it.

*Slicing new potatoes in half before boiling lets them cook much more quickly than they would if they were left whole.

*Shocking green beans by soaking them in ice water just after a brief blanching preserves their color and keeps them crisp.

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