Thursday, November 15, 2007

Global Table

You know, global warming is really affecting more than the environment--it's actually changing my eating habits. Normally by mid November I'd be indulging in delicious stews, creamy chowders and luscious purees. But who wants to walk home in 62 degree weather and up seven flights of stairs only to make a steaming bowl of soup? The last thing I want at the end of the day in this unseasonably tepid weather is a chili facial. So, when I came home last night sweaty and exhausted, I asked myself what I could throw in a pot that would be comforting but also refreshing.

The answer was simple: take a dish that's normally robust and hearty, break it down into it's basic components, and add some of your favorite refreshing ingredients. What you basically end up with is a deconstructed stew. I decided to take one of my favorite chicken stews and take the soup out of the equation, add in some green peas, replace the chicken with tuna, and now I have a lovely potato and tuna salad. Instead of having a rich orange broth, I drizzled the whole thing with paprika olive oil, and the result was outstanding. I was pleasantly full afterwards, and I'm going to use the leftovers to make a vegetable puree for tomorrow's dinner (there was no leftover tuna).

This dish works really well for a picnic, or as a take to work lunch since it has no mayo or egg (although it does taste great with a little hard boiled egg mixed in-- even a fried egg on top would be lovely). Unfortunately, I couldn't get as much of the paprika oil in the shot as I hoped to, but the colors look great on the plate. This is what I used to make it, but I just made it up so definitely add in your favorite veggies and proteins. It's super easy and definitely takes less than 30 minutes. Here's how to start:

Potato Salad

2 medium potatoes
1 cup chick peas (I used canned)
1/2 cup green peas (frozen is best)
1 small can tuna (I prefer packed in olive oil, but use what you like)
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp paprika
2 small cloves garlic, crushed

1. Cut potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes and boil in salted water. When the potatoes have about 10 minutes left, add in the chickpeas.

2. Heat olive oil and garlic in a small skillet. When just starting the brown, remove pan from the heat and discard the garlic. When the oil has cooled add the paprika and mix well. Cook for 30 seconds over medium heat (to remove raw taste). Set aside.

3. When the potatoes are just cooked through, add in the green peas and cook another minute.

4. Drain the boiled mixture and add the tuna (drained) and salt to taste. Carefully mix it in and plate. Drizzle the paprika oil over the salad. Enjoy!

**TIP: I like this dish slightly warmed or room temperature, but it tastes great chilled as well. Just chill the mixture without the oil. Make the oil right before you're ready to serve.


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