(recipe from the book Local Flavors used with permission of the author, Deborah Madison)
Serves 4 as a main dish.
It’s pre-tomato season in June, but the first green beans, tender little carrots, and French Breakfast radishes fit quite nicely with a few handfuls of lettuce, herbs, and fleshy purslane leaves. Tuna packed in oil or smoked fish-salmon, tuna, albacore, which can often be found at farmers’ markets—makes the salad into a meal.
1 sweet onion, thinly sliced into rounds
1/4 cup aged red wine vinegar
1 pound small potatoes, any waxy fleshed variety
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 ½ pounds green beans, one variety or several
1 bunch little carrots
several handfuls salad greens or small head lettuces
a handful purslane sprigs or big sunflower sprouts
several herb sprigs, such as chervil, marjoram, lovage, chives
2 garlic cloves
1 can anchovies, packed in olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, drained, or an 8-ounce chunk smoked albacore,
3 tablespoons smallest capers, rinsed
1 bunch radishes
- Heat a large pot of water for the vegetables. Toss the onion with 2 tablespoons of the vinegar and set in the refrigerator.
- Wash the potatoes, then put them in a small saucepan, cover with cold water, add 1 teaspoon salt, and bring to a boil. Simmer until tender when pierced with a knife, about 25 minutes, then drain. Cut the stem ends off the beans, along with the tails if they’re tough. If the carrots are small and tender, you don’t need to
peel them. Leave them whole or halve lengthwise with about an inch of the stems. Wash and dry the lettuces and herbs.
- Mash the garlic with ½ teaspoon salt and 2 anchovies in a mortar. Whisk in the mustard, the remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar, and the oil, making a thick,
- When the water boils, season well with salt, then add the beans and cook until tender but still a little firm, 4 to 8 minutes, depending on the varieties. Scoop
them out and put them on a towel to dry briefly, then toss them, while still hot,
with half of the dressing. Season with salt and pepper and heap them in the
center of the platter. Boil the carrots until tender-firm, 4 to 6 minutes or so, then
drain and dress lightly.
- Arrange the lettuces on the platter. Place the tuna at either end, breaking it up slightly. Halve the potatoes and arrange them on the platter. Spoon the
remaining dressing over the lettuces and potatoes and scatter capers over all,
along with the onions, drained of their vinegar. Lay the remaining anchovies over
the potatoes. Tuck in the radishes and carrots; add the purslane and herb sprigs.
Season everything with pepper. Present the salad arranged. Toss it before serving.