Here is something for you to think, imagine and if you feel like, do.
Its lunchtime on a glorious late summer day. You are in Nice, Provence on the coast of France. The Riviera. The famous Cote d’Azure. You are sitting in a cafe by the sea. Brilliant blue water, the famous Lighthouse in the distance. Seagulls swooping down from the sky. The clatter of knives and forks on plates and the tinkle of wine glasses. The sun is blazing down but you are in the shade and enjoying the cool breeze. You order the most famous salad, Salad Nicoise and a glass of white wine. The salad soon arrives, cold and refreshing and the wine glass delightfully frosted. You have a bite of your salad and a sip of your wine. You sigh contentedly. This is as close to paradise as you can get.
Its lunchtime on a glorious late summer day. You are in Mumbai. You are at home on a Sunday. The snarl of auto rickshaw engines in the background duelling with the angry buzz of marble cutting machines that somehow are always in use. The sound of motor car horns. Crows cawing loudly. You pull out the delicious Salad Nicoise you made that morning, pour yourself a glass of cold white wine and sit in your balcony [which the builder has sold you as a flower bed] in the heat and cacophony and try and think how much you would give to be in Nice. Alas! Sigh!
Well, I have news for you. Scene 1 is easily doable. It just costs a fair amount of money. Buy a ticket, hop onto a plane and lo and behold you can be in Nice. Scene 2 is slightly more difficult though much much cheaper. HRH the Queen of Kutch and I made a Salad Nicoise and, let me tell you it was delicious. Here is how to do it.
Ingredients for 2
For the salad
1 Iceberg Lettuce or 1 bunch Green Salad leaves washed dried and separated
3 small tomatoes. The reddest you can find washed and quartered
150 grams French Beans, topped, tailed, boiled in salted water till soft and cooled. Cut into 1 inch pieces
3 eggs hard boiled peeled and quartered
4-6 small [Dum Alu sized] Potato or 2 normal sized potatoes boiled peeled and sliced
1 tin Tuna preferably packed in oil not water, drained
Green and/or Black olives
For the dressing
1 part vinegar – 1 teaspoon or 1 tablespoon or 1 ladle or 1 mug [you know what I mean]
4 parts Olive oil
Whisk everything together – keep aside
To assemble the Salad
Take a large, preferably white, plate and place the Salad leaves on top in one flat layer
Arrange all the other vegetables attractively, in whatever form you like
Place the quartered eggs around the vegetables
Make a mound of the Tuna in the centre of the plate
Add some salt and pepper
Place the salad in the fridge for at least a couple of hours till thoroughly cooled.
Place the wine in the fridge to cool
At lunchtime pull out the Salad and pour on the dressing.
Open the bottle of wine pour yourself a glass
Eat, drink, imagine and sigh loudly.