Tuna Nicoise Sandwiches & Portuguese White Gazpacho
Starting this post with a little housekeeping note: one spot came available my workshop/retreat in Northern Ireland, July 19th – 23rd (details here) If you are interested, please email or call the Belle-Isle Cookery School where the workshop and retreat will be hosted, here.
Speaking of that workshop in Northern Ireland, we are finalizing the schedule of lessons, shoots, cooking and fun and I am getting so excited I can’t stop smiling all day! Really can’t wait to be there and meet everyone. I am also still pinching myself that I can do this with Bill and we are taking a few days before to explore both Scotland and Northern Ireland where is ancestors are from.
We travel well together. We have a way of dividing planning tasks without even saying it. From the first time we crossed the English Channel on a super long, chaotic and loud ferry route, we knew we could travel together without wanting to throttle each other. He’s really the best companion.
I am realizing this post is turning into a public Thank You note to my husband….but he deserves it. For everytime I have been able to spend an hour geeking out on the photos for a post or taken another more time to write and edit recipes and words – he’s been behind me, supportive of this blog, intended at first to be nothing more than a fun creative outlet.
That fun creative outlet turned out into a fun and amazingly rewarding life, creating stories through images. And he’s been my rock throughout the process. While my mom was complaining I was "still on the internet", he would gently tell her "give it a bit more time, she’s got a plan."
Did I? Have a plan? No, not really. My guts were telling me there was something there. My creative self was telling me not to let go. So I pushed through. With Bill by my side, never complaining. Many times a day I feel the urge to tell him thank you for this gift. I pick up the phone and send a text. A smiley face, a one liner. An extra hug. Something. Anything that shows him that I am mindful of what he’s doing.
To tell my husband "thank you" for his awesomeness, I know that the simple act of putting a nice lunch together will say just that. We never eat lunch together so when Summer rolls around, it’s a bit of a treat. Taking a few extra minutes to pack up a nice picnic and a bottle of cold lemonade to head out to the dock or the bench in the backyard is one way for me to say "I notice what you do".
From the first years that I moved to the US, I have always loved the idea of the "Sandwich and Soup" lunch combo one can find at restaurant. I’ve loved seeing how different years bring different favorites, from the elaborate "Salmon BLT and Vichyssoise" combo to the classic "Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup" one. Each chef, restaurant, region and era putting its own spin on it.
One of my favorite salade is Salade Nicoise, one of my favorite sandwiches is a Pan Bagnat and one of my favorite soup is gazpacho. I finally combined them all in one of our favorite picnic fares to date: Tuna Nicoise Sandwiches and Portuguese White Gazpacho.
The sandwiches are pretty straightforward, combining all the ingredients of a Salade Nicoise; tuna, oilves, green beans, eggs, tomatoes into a sandwich that needs to be made the night before, such as the Pan Bagnat, so that the bread can get all soft inside and the flavors meld together inside.
The gazpacho has been made three times since I made it first thing last week when I came back from New Hampshire. We just can’t get enough. A creamy blend of almonds, cucumber, fennel, oregano and garlic. If a soup ought to be called "sensual", it would be it. It made my toes curl. Which is always a pretty good indication I am happy… Thank you David Leite, author of The New Portuguese Table, for the recipe!
For dessert, the first cherries from our neighbors tree. A nice picnic indeed…
Sorry for the so-so polaroid, was in a hurry to eat them!
Tuna Nicoise Sandwiches:
Makes 4 large sandwiches
1 cup French green beans
4 large eggs
2 cans tuna in oil, drained, coarsely flaked
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/3 cup small black olives, pitted
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1/4 cup torn and loosely packed basil leaves (no need to chop fine, just use your fingers)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
2 anchovy fillets, finely crushed with back of fork
1 garlic clove, minced
1 baguette (regular or gluten free)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add a pinch of salt and blanch the green beans in it for about 3 minutes. Drain them in a colander and place them in a bowl full of ice until they are completely cold. Drain again well and reserve. The goal is to cook the green beans just enough to remove the raw taste of their uncooked selves but still keep the vibrant color and nice crunch of their barely cooked selves.
Bring another large pot of water to a boil. Add the eggs to the boiling water, cook for 6 minutes (soft yolks). Remove them from the water and run them under cold water until they are cooled enough to peel. Once peeled, coarsely chop them up and add them to the green beans.
Add the tuna, tomatoes, olives, shallot and basil. Toss well to combine.
In a small bowl, whisk the oil, vinegar, anchovy and garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper and pour this vinaigrette over the green bean and eggs. Toss well until everything is nicely seasoned with the vinaigrette.
Cut the baguette in half horizontally and spread the Salade Nicoise all along its bottom part. Wrap with a layer of parchment paper and then a layer of foil or plastic wrap. Refrigerate 6 hours or overnight. The next day, cut the baguette into 4 pieces and serve.
Portuguese White Gazpacho:
I am not reposting the recipe here since I made it ad verbatim from David’s site, Leite’s Culinaria.
I skipped the crab salad included in the recipe but I have no doubt it was as good as the gazpacho.
I used gluten free leftover bread that was going a bit stale but feel free to use regular bread.
**Mortar & Pestle from Le Creuset.
dervla @ The Curator June 18, 2012 um 8:51 pm
beautiful sentiment and beautiful recipe. Definitely trying this out!
jultchik June 18, 2012 um 8:53 pm
Les couleurs sont très agréables!Bonne idée avec la plaque de métal.
David Leite June 18, 2012 um 9:20 pm
I made your toes curl!!! Best compliment I've EVER gotten. I'm thrilled you liked the gazpacho, Helene.
thyme (Sarah) June 18, 2012 um 10:30 pm
What a sweet sweet tribute to your husband. I feel the same way about mine too. I just can't wait to hear about the trip to Ireland. I went to Ireland last year and just fell in love with the country, the people, the scenery. I really wanted to go on your trip but it conflicts with a family wedding. I'll live vicariously through your very charming life. Enjoy your very American soup and sandwich combo!
Averie @ Averie Cooks June 18, 2012 um 11:17 pm
perfect looking sandwiches!
I was also reading an old post of yours about chocolate cake. A chocolate cake base with a mousse topping. I am trying to find a really good, basic but excellent, recipe for chocolate cake. Not the mousse part, just the cake. Since you're French, if anyone can be honest about an excellent chocolate cake, it's you. So wondering if you love-loved that recipe of yours?
Anonymous June 18, 2012 um 11:53 pm
I'm going to try this and the book too~ thanks for sharing!
I enjoy the photos very much. -connie
Vannie June 19, 2012 um 12:14 am
you are so talented! everything you make looks delicious.
Vannie June 19, 2012 um 12:15 am
You are so talented. Everything you make looks delicious!
[email protected] June 19, 2012 um 4:04 am
I love the story and the sandwiches look super yummy!
Fish Pie June 19, 2012 um 8:15 am
Tasty! reminds me when I visited my friend down at Lisabon.
refrigeration designs June 19, 2012 um 10:53 am
looks eye candy for me…
fanny June 19, 2012 um 11:06 am
Hélène, your sandwiches look gorgeous. xx
Michele | Cooking At Home June 19, 2012 um 11:14 am
A lovely show of affection and gratitude to your husband, and a delicious-looking picnic.
Sally June 19, 2012 um 12:30 pm
I think we need to look back now and then and appreciate those who really, truly support us and push us do what we love. (I, too, have a 'Bill-type' husband!) I love everything about this post, Helene. I hope your Ireland trip is wonderful. And some day, some day soon I hope, I will be able to take a class from you!
Rachel [email protected] June 19, 2012 um 12:31 pm
I'm with you on those sandwiches! Being Gluten Intol. I say no to sandwiches for the most part…but these look so amazing, I may have to indulge! Nicoise is my favorite salad too…
Unknown June 19, 2012 um 3:14 pm
What a lovely post. It is wonderful to read about your husband and his support. Truly wonderful to know there is another loving couple out there. My husband is awesome, as well, and I thank him every day.
Safe journey to Northern Ireland. I fell in love with that part of the world a couple of years ago when we visited friends in Belfast. If you have the chance, check out the breakfasts at the Rayanne House right outside of Belfast. And the Giant's Causeway is not to be missed.
SkinnyMommy June 19, 2012 um 3:35 pm
Those sandwiches look amazing–perfect for a picnic!
Helene June 19, 2012 um 3:42 pm
I just love your photography so much, so inspiring. And the sandwich reminds me of the French homeland! Love the idea of the white gazpacho, will have to try that asap.
sugarthesky June 19, 2012 um 4:52 pm
It's always nice giving some time to appreciate the ones you love! Now I am currently in love with the sandwich *sigh* 🙂
Anonymous June 19, 2012 um 6:07 pm
those look SO. delicious! and i love the way you wrapped them in newspaper — so artistic;)
goboroot June 19, 2012 um 9:11 pm
Helen, I feel your love from your writing… Also thank you for sharing the encouragement that it is okay to continue what you love and believe.
Nina June 19, 2012 um 10:02 pm
Thats a beautiful post. Great pictures as well. Am craving for some sandwiches now:)
Karen June 19, 2012 um 11:50 pm
These sandwiches look so delightful! Since they are made the night how do you keep them from getting too soggy?
Full Flavored Life June 20, 2012 um 1:19 am
marla June 20, 2012 um 1:37 am
Such beautiful rustic sandwiches!! Bet you are so excited for Ireland ~ it will be such a FUN trip! (( hugs ))
Helene June 20, 2012 um 4:46 am
Karen: they won't get soggy, they are made the day before, like Pan Bagnats, to get softer. There is not enough vinaigrette to make them soggy but just enough to make the bread softer overnight and easier to chew.
Wholesale Food June 20, 2012 um 8:50 am
It's looking so nice…
Jessie June 21, 2012 um 2:47 am
Your photos are gorgeous. Love your site!
kelly June 21, 2012 um 5:20 am
Beautiful colours, and I love the crate in one of the photos.
Eff June 21, 2012 um 7:42 am
Didn't even know there is white gazpacho! Looks delicious 🙂
Jackie @Syrup and Biscuits June 21, 2012 um 8:41 pm
What a lovely tribute to the love of your life!
Simones Kitchen June 22, 2012 um 5:28 am
Lovely post as always Helene! Can't wait to meet you in a month time already! I'm feeling the excitement too!
molly June 24, 2012 um 5:51 am
Years ago, while traveling through Spain, my (then brand new) husband and I ate some of the best sandwiches of our lives. Stuffed with wonderfully oily tuna, hard boiled eggs, olives, and veg, they were some of the meatiest "vegetarian" sandwiches (per local parlance) we'd ever had. We still dream of them, lo, these seventeen years later. It hadn't occurred to me, until now, they were essentially a salade Nicoise between a baguette! Thank you, thank you for making the connection.
Jessica Robert February 2, 2013 um 8:18 pm
Very Beautiful presentation!
Your photos are so nice!