It is beginning to feel like summer. A perfect summer dinner is filled with a variety of fresh vegetables, brought together with a sauce that complements and binds the ingredients. Since my family includes both carnivores and vegetarians, I love to figure out ways to satisfy both preferences with the same dish. For this dish, you prepare the components of the salad and can mix and match ingredients according to individual preferences. I happened to have some fancy looking dolphin-safe tuna in lemon, olive oil and pepper, in a jar, which I picked up at the start of this pandemic, thinking it would be a good pantry item if I had to survive on what I had in my cupboard. That combined nicely with a mix of roasted and raw veggies, and was all pulled together with this scrumptious lemon dill vinaigrette (you'll want to lick the jar!) and the runny yolk of boiled eggs. The salad dressing and yolk pool together in the bottom of the bowl, so you will want to scoop it up with a forkful of veggies so all the flavors combine. De-lish! For the vegetarian in your family, put together a salad that leaves out the tuna but includes chickpeas for some extra protein. For the carnivore, include the tuna and leave out--or not--the chickpeas. This was a big hit in our house last night!
Lemon Dill Vinaigrette
Juice of one lemon (about 1 1/2 TBS)
1 TBS white balsamic vinegar
4 TBS olive oil
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp salt
1 small clove garlic, pressed
2 TBS chopped dill
1 tsp capers, drained
Mix all ingredients in a jar. Shake well.
1 lb. green beans, trimmed
1 1/2 lbs. small red potatoes, halved or quartered, depending upon how big they are
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and cut into about 8 wedges (discard top of fennel)
Handful cherry tomatoes
1/2 cucumber, sliced
1/2 red pepper, diced
6-8 eggs (2 per person)
6 oz. high quality tuna, optional
Cooked Chickpeas, optional (from a can is acceptable)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees (use convection roast if your oven offers this feature). Toss green beans with olive oil and salt and spread on a baking sheet. Toss potatoes with olive oil and salt and spread on another baking sheet. Toss fennel with olive oil and salt and spread on same baking sheet as potatoes. Roast beans and fennel for about 20-25 minutes, tossing once or twice while roasting. Roast potatoes for about 45 minutes to an hour, tossing several times while roasting, until they are golden brown and crispy.
Meanwhile, prepare a saucepan by putting a few inches of water in it and a steamer basket. Cover and bring to a simmer. Place eggs in steamer basket, cover, and steam over low heat (so water is just simmering) for 9 minutes. Place eggs under cold water, then peel. If possible, time the cooking of the eggs so that they are ready just before you are ready to put together the salads. Egg whites should be firm and fully cooked; yolks should be beginning to harden but still a little runny.
Build each salad serving in large individual salad bowls as follows:
Place roasted beans, fennel and potatoes on bottom. Sprinkle with a few cherry tomatoes and cucumber slices, then some diced red pepper. Add some pieces of tuna and/or chickpeas. Place 2 boiled eggs halved lengthwise on top of each salad. Drizzle vinaigrette on top.