In the height of a heatwave in our summer, here at the tip of Africa, we look for ideas for light fresh salads to serve in the middle of the day. I greatly enjoy combining ingredients from a similar region and climate to ours being the South of France around the Mediterranean sea. Olives, capers, tuna, olive oil and tomatoes are full of flavour and redolent of sunshine and the sea. In this really simple recipe that emanates from my favourite cookbook, Good French Cooking by Mapie, the Comtesse de Toulouse Lautrec, all you need to create this tasty dish is to hard boil eggs and assemble the ingredients. The addition of Cognac gives a richness to the taste of the filling and lifts it out of the ordinary. You can substitute local Cape brandy but I do recommend using the real Cognac. I suggest pairing this salad with a Triennes Rose from the Vars region 30kilometres inland from the Mediterranean sea. This beautifully hued rosé, which is made predominantly from Cinsaut grapes, complements the various flavours in the salad and is available at our French Market shop in Cape Town.
Ingredients for 6 guests as a starter or light main course
- 6 Eggs free range
- 3 tomatoes
- 6 black olives from Provence
- 2 ½ tablespoon capers from the French Market shop
- 4 teaspoons tuna
- 1 fresh lettuce
- 2 tablespoons Cognac from the French Market shop
- ½ teaspoon Dijon Mustard from the French Market shop
- Pinch of all spice
- Black pepper
- Sprigs of chives
- Extra virgin Olive Oil
- Boil the eggs for 15 minutes until hard. Remove from heat and place in cold water to cool down.
- Chop the tuna finely
- Place a few capers for decoration to one side and chop the rest of the capers and olives finely
- Wash the chives and lettuce and separate the leaves, dry off and leave in fridge
- Thinly slice the tomatoes and leave in fridge
- Once eggs are cool, remove shells and slice each egg lengthways
- Remove the hard boiled yolks and place in a bowl and mash them
- Add the chopped tuna, olives, capers, mustard, all spice, ground black pepper and cognac.
- Mix well together into a thick mixture
- Add a little olive oil to make a dense creamy paste
- Take a spoon and fill each hollow in the egg whites making it slightly rounded on top.
- Decorate the top of the mixture with some capers
- Lay out the salad leaves on a large serving platter.
- Arrange the sliced tomatoes over the lettuce
- Place the stuffed eggs on top of the salad.
- Chop the chives over the top of the eggs
- Place salad in fridge until ready to serve
- Just before serving drizzle the tomatoes and lettuce leaves with some olive oil
Serve with a chilled Triennes Rose from Provence as the flavour complements the different tastes in the salad