(Thanks to @greggr for once again providing the suggestion...) O.K. Guys and Gals, I had fun with this one. And, it's simple. My Steak Nicoise with pickled carrots is a riff on the classic French Nicoise that every Freshman learns in Culinary School. Well, it's been 3 years (already?) since, and I'm just now adding this culinary beauty to my go-to mealtime repertoire. Originating from Nice in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, of France, this mixed crudite (raw vegetable) salad has definitely become a gastronomic superstar. Boasting a platter of vegetable and protein all diligently prepared with heavy classic technique, this salad has truly earned its international popularity. The classic provencial Nicoise is made with a variety of ingredients: Chopped greens, blanched haricot verts (green beans), hard-boiled egg, tuna (poached or seared), Nicoise olives, boiled potato and a light vinaigrette. Traditionally speaking, this salad packs a skillfully crafted punch and it always provides a cook the platform to show off their culinary mastery. The perfect boiled egg with its creamy bright yellow yolk, crunchy blanched and chilled beans atop beautiflly crisp greens - all finished with a tender, flaky fish and tart mustard vinaigrette is nothing to sneeze at. Most of those components are, at several points along one's culinary education, used by Chef Instructors to gauge a student's ability to master basic but precise processes (the dreaded practical exam *shudder*).
Well I can assure you, for the artist who LIVES to cook and LOVES to EAT, this salad is a blast to prepare. Precision aside, let's remember that freedom at plating is only limited by one's creativity. You can turn your elegantly assembled meal into a stunningly chaotic Jackson Pollock if you wish!
For this dish, I swapped out the fish in favor of a crusted and sliced ribeye, cooked to medium rare - just a touch toward medium. My pickled carrots add an acidic, salty bite and a bright pop of color, beyond the standard marinated olives. And, although the classic Nicoise doesn't call for dairy, a light crumble of a soft, mild Danish bleu paired brilliantly with all of the possible forkfilled combinations (especially with the boiled potato)! Now go on - start with a good hand-washing, break out your favorite knives, and get cooking!
BASIC MUSTARD VINAIGRETTE *1/3 Cup red wine vinegar *1 Cup (half + half) mix of Olive oil and Canola *Juice of 1/2 of a lemon *3 TBSP water *2 TBSP Dijon *1 TBSP minced shallot *2 macerated garlic cloves (or finely chopped) *1/2 tsp dried thyme *1 tsp very finely chopped fresh parsley *1/2 tsp sugar OR 1 tsp honey *1 tsp Kosher salt *1/2 tsp coursely ground black pepper Whisk vigorously or assault with a handblender and this mixture will emulsify nicely. There's nothing to ruin here... Allow the vinaigrette to bloom for about an hour, covered, at room temperature. This will keep (refrigerated) for about a week. To keep dressing from solidifying once cold, use a "winterized" Canola or "dressing" oil along with the Olive oil as suggested in the recipe above. Enjoy!