Friday, April 10, 2009

Spotting Lunch - Pasta Salad Niçoise

When the weather is warm, I love pasta salads. I probably associate warmer weather with pasta salads because my dad would always make them in the warmer weather for dinner. My dad never made a pasta salad quite like the one I found on TasteSpotting posted by Gastronomer (Sorry Dad).

Pasta Salad Niçoise
via gastronomersguide

6 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
12 ounces cavatappi
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
coarse sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 6-ounce cans solid white tuna in olive oil, drained
1 red bell pepper, trimmed and cut into 1-inch slivers
1/3 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley

Make garlic oil by heating 2 tablespoons oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic; saute 1 minute. Let cool.

To a pot of rapidly boiling, liberally salted water, add green beans. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl and rinse with cold water. Drain.

Cook pasta in the same pot until al dente, a few minutes short of package directions. Drain.

In a large bowl make vinaigrette by combining garlic oil, 4 tablespoons oil, mustard, lemon juice, lemon zest, vinegar, salt, and pepper; whisk well. Add pasta, beans, bell pepper, tuna, olives, and capers. Toss gently to coat all ingredients with vinaigrette.

Yield: 6 servings.

To make this pasta salad even more special, you could get a nice fresh tuna steak at your local seafood counter and grill it. I love grilled tuna with just a bit of salt, pepper, maybe some lemon zest, and olive oil. Tuna is nice with any of your favorite herbs though.

Here's to fishes and full bellies.

- Cait

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