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Salad Nicoise

You all know I love summer. I love the hot weather, I love the relaxed schedule, I love cooking on the grill and dining on the deck. Sometimes, though, it’s just too hot to cook. And when it is, I make this salad.

Salad Nicoise blog size

I’ve been making a variation of this Salad Nicoise since I was a young bride in 1988. I even have the same 2 plates I bought way back then at Pier 1. It was quite a splurge at that time, if I recall, but I figured if I was going to serve a cold salad for dinner then I ought to at least serve it on pretty plates.

It’s a very simple dish – a bed of lettuce topped with some steamed new potatoes, hardboiled egg, tuna (Hannah was quite dismayed that the tuna was not mixed with mayo, I told her to live a little), steamed green beans, black olives and tomatoes. The dressing is a basic vinaigrette with a little Dijon mustard mixed in for a bit of a kick. I think it’s delicious. It’s pretty and it’s perfect for a hot summer night.

So what do you cook when it’s too hot to cook?

This Post Has 28 Comments

  1. This is going to sound hopelessly pedestrian: we pick up some cold cuts and make sandwiches at home.

    OK, it *is* hopelessly pedestrian, but it works for us.

  2. Fruit Salad…
    Romaine lettuce
    1/2 c. pecans
    1/2 c. fresh strawberries
    1/2 c fresh blueberries
    1 sm. can mandarin oranges (drained)
    Mix/toss and add Poppyseed dressing to taste
    Serve with 1/2 c. homemade chicken salad… or just a grilled chicken breast.

  3. I make a variation of the salad Gale mentioned above! I also like to make “faux-jitas”: Slice up 2 (or 3 or 4, or however many you need) and drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a little cayenne. Toss the chicken under the broiler until cooked through, about 6 minutes. While the chicken cooks, slice up 2 bell peppers and a red onion. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper and throw them under the broiler until they’re as done as you want them. Serve on tortillas! Sometimes I add some crumbled bacon.

    I also like slow cooked salmon! The oven stays around 160 so it doesn’t heat the house up too much.

  4. Olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, white beans, chopped spinach, Parmesan, and curly pasta. Very filling salad. I may need to make that tonight!

  5. Honestly? Salad with left over grilled chicken breast, hot dogs, or cold cereal. When it’s too hot too cook I’m too hot for much of anything at al.

  6. I’m ashamed to say that I pretty much go for quesadillas when it is too hot to cook. They cook quickly on my griddle pan and then I load them down with salsa and sour cream.

  7. I’m going to copy you and make a similar salad tonight! What a lovely idea. We grill almost nightly. Sadly, it’s just too hot on the patio to dine there, but we enjoy it when we can.

  8. The deli is my friend, especially if they have stuffed grape leaves, hummous and lots of black olives. Or hot potato salad – only the potatoes have to be cooked on top of the stove (no oven) and I am guilty of adding little circles of Oscar Mayer weiners.

  9. I make a variation on your theme. It’s salad night frequently during the summer, using whatever fresh veggies are available and grilled chicken. Since I know I’m going to do it at least once or twice a week, I usually cook the chicken ahead of time when the grill is already being used. Same with string beans or beets or whatever: they keep in the fridge just fine for a day or two until I need them.

    That and some good bread and we’re eating in style!

  10. Sometimes, I just make bruschetta with fresh mozzarella and basil. I get some French break, chop and mix some tomatoes and basil with balsamic vinegar and slice up some fresh mozzarella. I layer the mozz on top, then top with tomato mixture and there you have it. Some protein, some veggies, some carbs.

  11. That looks delicious!

    One of my favorite things to eat is caprese salad. I also like to chop tomatoes and onions then top that with basil, gorgonzola cheese, olive oil and salt & pepper. I eat that on bread, but the bread’s not a requirement. 🙂

  12. Oh, that looks wonderful – I just might have to try it…

    Me – I like cottage cheese, raspberries, blueberries and strawberries. Really good…

  13. My favorite is a caprese salad, but I’ll do anything that isn’t hot & doesn’t heat up my kitchen! Lots of times I’ll cook burgers on the grille, since I only have to go outside a couple times & the house stays cool. Shawn loves slices of ham, swiss cheese, and some potato salad as a cool dinner. We do our share of calling for delivery, as well 🙂 Your salad looks fab … not sure how well it would go over here at my house, though, LOL!

  14. Too hot to cook… ugh! If possible, I do my cooking early in the day and we eat something reheated or at room temp/chilled. I use my crockpot since it doesn’t heat up the house and I get to do the work in the cool of the morning. Favorite is pulled pork, and leftovers without BBQ sauce become pork carnitas the next night. Two meals for one brief stint in the kitchen! Muffalata sandwiches are also a nice choice – and even better if you make them earlier in the day. I also put those same goodies chopped over greens and we have a chopped Italian salad. I have more. Can you just tell I hate to cook when it’s hot? LOL

  15. Oh, Yummy – and ditto yummy on the Gazpacho!
    I make a salad of whatever fruit I had, feta, walnuts, and good greens with a vinagrette of whatever I have on hand, usually balsamic vinegar and a bit of good olive oil and any fresh herbs I can grab.
    (and yes, Hannah, live a little! ditch the mayo!)

  16. Cold leftovers make great almost-no-cooking supper salads. Leftover steak sliced thinly, leftover grilled salmon or chicken, whatever nice looking veggies we have. Little grilled potatoes, or maybe a cooked grain along with it. There are endless variations of this based on what you have in the fridge!

  17. Lettuce greens from the garden, grape tomatoes and tiny mozzarella balls from the store (with some vinegraite type dressing), maybe something grilled like fish, maybe pickled herring (for me and a friend, my husband and son don’t like them), olives, maybe steamed green beans and/or peas from the garden, but better left over if it’s too hot. Ditto hard boiled eggs. I’ll have to have some potatoes on hand to do a salad more like this… num num!

  18. That looks yummy! Too bad I live with a carnivore who won’t touch tuna to save his life. *sigh*

    When it’s hot I send him to get Subway – $5 footlongs, baybee! ;o)

  19. Something very similar. We grill marinated boneless chicken breasts in the Foreman then slice them and serve them on top of a big green salad. Sometimes we’ll do the same with salmon or just toss a couple of those tuna packets in with a big bowl o’ salad.

  20. That salad looks great! And tuna without mayo is much better 🙂 I like mine with a sprinkle of red wine vinegar and some fresh cracked pepper.

    For hot days I like this seven layer taco dip my aunt always brought to pot lucks. Just refried beans, tomatoes, onions, cheese, sour cream, lettuce and black olives layered on a 10-in plate served with tortilla chips. I’m wanting to play around a bit with savory sorbets this summer as an option. When fending for myself I’m also known to put together a little plate of cheese, crackers and apples. Mostly we just keep it simple and kind of appetizer or tapas-like.

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