Your fingerlicking riviera salad

Try making the riviera salad at home. PHOTO/NET

What you need to know:

  • Serve the salad at once, passing the sauce boat at the table.

There are times you might be bored of dining out to have that salad. Enjoy making the riviera salad at home.
Serves 4
• ½ medium seedless cucumber, peeled and cut into ½ inch dice
• 1 red or yellow bell pepper, roasted, peeled, deseeded and cut into ¼ inch strips
• 1 sprig of fresh thyme
• 2 garlic cloves, lightly crushed 
• 10 tablespoons virgin olive oil
• 12 slices of baguette, toasted
• 1 garlic clove
• 4 eggs, boiled for 5 minutes and then shelled and halved lengthways 
• 8 Nicoise or green olives, a thick slice cut off each and the remainder reserved for another use
• 4 small artichokes (if not available substitute asparagus or Brussel sprouts)
• 500 ml (2 ¼ cups) peanut (groundnut) oil, if not available use canola or almond oil
• 1 celery heart, trimmed, sliced paper thin and set aside in cold water
• 100g mixed green salad leaves (mesclun), these are available already packed and washed from Carrefour or Millennium supermarket, Kisementi
• 4 good size ripe tomatoes, skinned, deseeded and quartered 
• Lemon or lime juice
• 8 spring   onions, white parts only, sliced paper thin
• 8 anchovy fillets packed in oil
• 100g white tuna packed in oil
• 10 basil leaves, cut into thin ribbons
• 8 small red radishes, sliced paper thin
• Salt and freshly ground pepper 
For the tapenade 
 N.B. Tapenade is a Provencal name for a spread, condiment that is made up of pureed or finely chopped olives, capers and anchovies. Its name is derived from the Provencal word for capers and it is a very popular food in the south of France where it is commonly eaten as a starter on bread and can also be used to stuff chicken for a main course.    
• 200g (1 ½ cups) Nicoise olives, pitted
• 1 tablespoons capers, drained and coarsely chopped
• ¼ teaspoon lemon or lime juice
• ½ garlic clove
• 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar 
• 4 tablespoons virgin olive oil
• A pinch of salt
For the vinaigrette:
• 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar 
• 4 tablespoon virgin oil
1.Place the diced cucumber in a colander and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of salt and set aside for about 10 minutes. Then, gently squeeze the water out of the cucumber.

2.In a small bowl, combine the roasted pepper with the thyme, garlic clove and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and then set aside. To make the tapenade, put the olives in a blender or mini food processor with the capers, lemon juice, garlic, sherry vinegar, olive oil, salt and some pepper to taste and blend to a thick paste. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

3.To make the vinaigrette, put the vinegar in small bowl with a pinch of salt and some pepper then add the olive oil and stir vigorously with a fork to blend and set aside.

Vinaigrette sauce.

4.Rub the baguette (French bread) slices lightly on one side with the half garlic clove and then spread with a thin layer of the tapenade, reserve a little tapenade for the dressing. Garnish 8 of the slices with half an egg and then place a slice of the olive on top of each egg and set all the slices on a plate.

5.Trim and halve the artichokes and then slice them paper thin. Heat the groundnut oil in a large, deep pan over a medium high heat. When the oil is hot (190°C/374°F), carefully put in half the artichoke slices. Fry for about 2 minutes until they are light golden brown and then remove with slotted spoon and place on several layers of kitchen towels. Season immediately with a pinch of salt and combine the remaining artichoke slices with 1 tablespoon of the vinaigrette and toss to coat.

6.In a small bowl, toss the cucumber with 1 tablespoon of the vinaigrette. Drain the celery heart and pat dry and then toss it with another tablespoon of vinaigrette while reserving the rest for another use. 

7.To assemble the salad; arrange the ingredients on 4 serving plates in the following order: first the mesclun, then the red or yellow pepper, tomatoes, cucumber, raw artichoke slices, celery heart, spring onions, anchovy fillets, tuna and basil leaves. Scatter the radishes and fried artichokes on top and sprinkle with a few drops of lemon or lime juice. 

8.Arrange 3 tapenade toasts on the side of each plate, 2 with the boiled eggs. 1 plain, in a small bowl, stir together the remaining 7 tablespoons of olive oil and the remaining tapenade to a sauceboat. 
Serve the salad at once, passing the sauce boat at the table.