Friday, January 21, 2011

No Canned Tuna in Cannes

Salade Nicoise--Cannes style


Everything about this meal was refreshing. After walking all morning along the Boulevard de la Croisette, a promenade that runs along the beautiful beach in Cannes, then poking our heads in the upscale shops in the city centre, we were hot, tired, and thirsty. We turned into a shady alley just off the main street and found a tiny hole-in-the-wall restaurant with a checkered tablecloth and a welcoming waitress. Cold water, chilled wine and a spectacularly crisp Salade Nicoise served with a fresh baguette (that only the French seem to have mastered) refueled us, readying us for an afternoon of exploring.

This salad showed me, once again, that the best food is fresh food. The markets in Provence were bursting with just-picked produce from local farms.  The colour and variety available made me wish I had my own kitchen there so I could sample it all. Looking at the photo above, I know that this Salade Nicoise owed its success to the fact that its ingredients were likely harvested the day before I had the pleasure of eating it. The crisp romaine leaves, firm sweet tomatoes, and fresh, not canned, tuna were dressed in a light vinaigrette, letting the natural flavours of the salad dominate. It was hard to leave the table.

We shared a table with this elderly "regular".

A mountain of fresh beans in a market in Provence.

Sun-dried tomatoes!

Les fraises--fresh!

Two hour lunches are the "mode de vie" in France. 

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