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In the Kitchen with Vital Choice

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Vital Choice at Home: Grilled Tuna Salad Nicoise

Vital Choice at Home: Grilled Tuna Salad NicoiseWelcome to Vital Choice at Home!

This series features me, Michelle – a writer and soccer mom from the Rocky Mountains – my husband and two kids, some beautiful Vital Choice seafood and lots of regular home cooking.
(Click here to learn more about me, below.)
I want to feature the products and preparations you're curious about.
Have a suggestion? Question? Recipe you want me to test?
Email me and help to shape this series.

When the days are hot and the refrigerator and pantry teem with fresh summer produce, there's only one thing to do – make a glorious salade nicoise!
Salade nicoise is a "composed" salad that originates from the Provence region of southern France.
Rather than being tossed together in a big bowl, the individual salad ingredients are arrayed around the plate, for you to mix and mingle as you see fit.
Traditionally, salade nicoise is made with tomatoes, tuna or anchovies, hard-boiled eggs, cured Nicoise olives and a variety of summer vegetables, including green beans, all lightly dressed with vinaigrette.
While the salade nicoise I grew up on was served with canned tuna (which is still yummy!), this recipe elevates the concept a bit when served with lightly seared Vital Choice Albacore Tuna Loin Medallions.
If you look online, you'll find hundreds of variations on this recipe. My version below is simple, flavorful and easy to vary based on what seasonal ingredients you have on hand.
At its most basic, you need some tuna, some veggies, some greens and a basic vinaigrette.
In addition to the recipe, I've made a few additional suggestions about how to make this as simply as possible.
A few words about this amazing, sushi-grade tuna
As I learned the hard way before, this tuna deserve a very light touch on the grill, particularly if you enjoy sushi and other raw fish.
Vital Choice Albacore Medallions really are the finest quality you can find, and it shows in the final flavor and texture.
The medallions are skinless, boneless and sushi-grade, which means you can lightly sear them or even enjoy them raw.
When grilling your albacore medallions, I recommend that you work at medium heat, and don't step away from the grill.
This method preserves the gorgeous texture and flavor of this excellent tuna.
Grilled Albacore Salade Nicoise
Serves 2 (easily doubles to serve 4)
3 tablespoons white wine or Champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 shallot, minced
½ lb. red-skinned new potatoes
½ lb. fresh green beans 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved (or sliced tomato)
2 hard-boiled eggs, quartered lengthwise
¼ cup pitted Nicoise olives (or other cured black olive)
1 small head butter lettuce (or other salad green of choice)
Make the vinaigrette
Whisk together olive oil, vinegar, Dijon mustard and minced shallot to emulsify. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Prepare the new potatoes and green beans
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add new potatoes and simmer until fork-tender, 15-20 minutes. Remove from the boiling water, drain, cut in half and toss with a bit of vinaigrette. Set aside.
Add green beans to the same pot of boiling water and blanch just until still crisp, 2-4 minutes depending on thickness. Place green beans in an ice bath for about 5 minutes to stop the cooking process, drain and toss with a bit of vinaigrette. Set aside.
Preheat grill to medium temperature.
Compose salad plates and grill tuna
Toss your salad greens and halved cherry tomatoes in the remaining vinaigrette.
Arrange salad ingredients around the plate in small, neat piles: dressed butter lettuce, dressed, halved cherry tomatoes, dressed new potatoes, dressed green beans, quartered hard-boiled eggs and Nicoise olives.
Once plates are assembled, lightly oil, salt and pepper tuna medallions. Sear quickly over medium heat, 1½ to 2 minutes a side or until preferred level of doneness. Be careful not to overcook!
Slice each medallion in half and add to composed salad plates. Enjoy!
A few notes from the cook
As the days are still warm for many of us, you may choose to boil your potatoes and blanch your green beans in the morning when the kitchen is still cool. They can be dressed at this point and refrigerated (with the remaining vinaigrette) until mealtime.
If you do this bit of prep in advance, then the remaining cooking can be done outside at the grill, and you merely need to put together salad plates.
This salad was so gorgeous and flavorful and really made best use of the fresh vegetables that are in season now.
I had cherry tomatoes, new potatoes, salad greens AND green beans all from my organic farm share.
I do hope you give this a try – it's the perfect way to highlight the incredible quality of Vital Choice sushi-grade Albacore medallions while savoring the best of the summer gardening season.
My rating: 4 out of 4 stars

A Note from Michelle
Like you, I have a passion for beautiful-yet-healthy food that's easy to prepare.
While I do love making the occasional "fancy” dinner, most of the time I'm short on time and have a house full of hungry people who want to eat NOW.
I'm not a professional chef – I'm just a busy mom who loves to cook and who's focused on that intersection of healthy and delicious.
I want this series to feature the products and preparations you're curious about.
Have a suggestion? Question? Recipe you want me to test?
Email me and help to shape this series.
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