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Sunday, May 01, 2011

Easter, Bunny...

By Tom

My friend Elena sent me this photo of these marvelously decorated eggs. They reminded me that back in the day when the godchild was still a child and not a young woman in college we would gather to do the ritual of the egg-dying. Loads of hard-cooked eggs were dyed while we chinned and grinned and generally oohed and aahed over our own cleverness in adventurous color combinations.

This differed slightly from my own upbringing in one small way: at home we laboriously blew the eggs innards out into a bowl and decorated the empty shells. Those blown-out egg guts could be breakfast for a week or an omelette party for 20. The belabored hard-cooked ones went into a newer ritual a few days later, the Salade Niçoise.

Now of course this was a special, invitation only Salade Niçoise for one simple reason. The whites of the eggs would naturally take on some of the dye from the decorated eggs. If you weren't in on the decorating it would be kind of disconcerting to be served a salad with eggs that had lime green and purple zebra stripes on them. But it's a salad that when done well is tasty, filling and even recycling?

The basic recipe: (feel free to add or detract and you decide the amounts)
Boston Lettuce
haricot vert, blanched and shocked
sliced heirloom tomatoes (cherry tomatoes can substitute)
boiled red or fingerling potatoes
canned tuna (preferably the Italian kind in oil)
the leftover Easter eggs, peeled and halved
capers in salt
Niçoise olives
Mustard Vanaigrette

Arrange all on a platter prettily and drizzle with the dressing. If you have an anchovy or caper-phobic person (yes, you Bitsy) blitz it in with the dressing. They'll never know. Serve with nicely warmed bread and crisply chilled wine. Eat, drink and be merry.

Easter, Passover, Nowruz; I would love it if you would share your traditions and recipes that take us into spring.

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Blogger Flora said...

Tom, that salad sure sounds good for a spring tonic!

We used to gather dandelion greens when I lived in the country - my grandmother admonished us to only pick the ones that had not bloomed yet, as they would be very bitter. The tender young leaves were quite tasty. She also made a broth of sorts from dandelions when one of us was sick - it mattered not what we had, the boiled dandelion was "good for what ails ya." I don't eat them anymore, since I can now get tender greens of any kind at the store, but if I had nothing else, I could go for some dandelion greens.

1:00 AM EDT  
Blogger JoAnne Bassett said...

Tom, thank you for the memories...As a child I also blew out the egg yolks and we colored the empty shells. I am not sure what happened to the eggs yolks and whites...they may have been fried.

I love salad nicoise..the first thing I do when I go to Paris or Nice is to have one for lunch..I do love them.

We had traditional ham and pineapple and all of the trimmings for Easter.

7:21 PM EDT  
Blogger Martinus Scriblerus said...

It's a lovely description. My grandma showed me how to blow out the eggs, but I could never do it. I would usally drop the egg and get all sticky and grumpy. Ah... being five.

9:46 PM EDT  
Blogger Tammy said...

I had never heard of blowing eggs til I moved out here to LaLaLand as an adult, and discovered cascarones. Fun stuff.

This time of year is when we start grilling almost every night, and I like to experiment with various pestos.

One of my favorites is cilantro pesto, from James McNair's Beef cookbook:

Garlic marinade:
1/2 C dry red wine
2 T fresh squeezed lime or lemon juice
2 T minced or pressed garlic
2 T brown sugar

1 pound flank steak

Cilantro Pesto:
8-10 garlic cloves (I add more, but start with this)
1 1/2 cups coarsley chopped fresh cilantro
6 fresh jalapenos ( take seeds out if you're wimpy)
1 T fresh squeezed lime or lemon juice

Marinade the steakk two hours, at least (I do it overnight)
Bring to room temp before you grill it.

I use my mini food processor to mix up the salsa ingredients while the husband is grilling the steak; blend it til it's fairly smooth, for spreading

Cook steak, turning once and basting with marinade, I have no idea how long it takes, since I am not the one that does this part...but not too long, I don't think, 'cuz it's a thin cut of meat.

Thinly slice it at a 45 degree angle, and put it on toasted bread if you like. (I like good crusty French bread or baguettes) I sometimes use garlic mayonaise along with the pesto, but it's good with just the pesto, too.

10:11 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


It's even better with seared Ahi..

I've never had dandelion. Have to change that.

10:32 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I love ham and pineapple. We used to have that on Easter as well.

The salade was about the Tuesday after Easter.

10:34 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I think my Mom waited until we were about 8 or 9 before we blew out the eggs.

If we'd had one of those Ron Popeil things it would have been so much easier..

10:35 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Can I come over for dinner? ;-)

10:36 PM EDT  

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