Mint and balsamic are key to this delicious,
no-fuss summer salad.
When we lived in Paris, during what now seems another lifetime, we found good Italian restaurants hard to come by. Always obsessed by finding the best, we tried and failed countless times until we had assembled a trusted handful of restaurants. They might not have been as good as the real thing (which simply means being in Italy), but good enough for a Parisian couple with a growing family who were dreaming of their next summer holiday in Italy. One of these places, on rue des Canettes, was called Chez Bartolo and had a nice atmosphere, pretty good pizza, and this salad that we always ordered, which is sort of Italian, I guess. Chez Bartolo was run by, we later found out, Egyptians who looked quite Italian in their white shirts. They had an elderly lady who handled accounts and a resident cat or two who always managed to escape our dogs. It was a Sunday place.
I usually make this salad on hot days when I’m in no mood to deal with boiling pots, the days when we have picnic-style meals of cold cuts, melons, and such. I prepare it on a large plate and line the ingredients up as beautifully as I can without mixing them: a circle of beans, a smaller circle of eggs, and so on. The mint and balsamic are key.
- 5 large eggs
- 1 lbs haricots verts, trimmed
- 6 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- ¼ tsp celery salt
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 12 oz drained canned tuna chunks
- A handful of fresh mint leaves
- In a large saucepan, combine the eggs with water to cover by 1 inch. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. When the water has reached a boil, cook for 6 minutes over medium heat. Drain and run under cold water until cool. Peel and finely chop the eggs.
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the haricots verts and cook until al dente, about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool, then cut into ½-inch pieces.
- In a small screw-top jar, shake together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, celery salt, and pepper.
- To assemble the salad, spoon the tuna into the center of a large bowl. Form a ring around the tuna with the chopped eggs, then the green beans. Just before serving, sprinkle with mint and drizzle with the vinaigrette.
Old World Italian: $40; penguinrandomhouse.com
Excerpted from Old World Italian: Recipes and Secrets from our Travels in Italy by Mimi Thorisson. Copyright © 2020 Marie-France Thorisson. Photography Copyright © 2020 Oddur Thorisson. Published by Appetite by Random House ®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.