Chopped Salade Nicoise

This month's recipe

1 tablespoon anchovy paste
1 tablespoon imported Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon sea salt
1⁄2 cup fruity olive oil

3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into
1⁄2-inch cubes
1⁄2 pound tender young green beans such as haricot verts, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths
1⁄4 cup white wine
1 red pepper, roasted and minced or 1 cup jarred roasted pepper or pimiento, minced
1 bunch scallions, trimmed and minced
2 tablespoons drained capers
2⁄3 cup pitted and coarsely chopped imported black olives
1 can (13 ounces) water-packed tuna, drained and flaked
3 ripe, medium-size tomatoes, seeded and diced
5 large hard-cooked eggs, peeled and diced
1⁄3 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
Sea salt and freshly-ground pepper to taste

1 head romaine lettuce, dark outer leaves removed
1⁄2 cup shredded fresh basil

  1. To make the vinaigrette: whisk together the anchovy paste, mustard and lemon juice in a small bowl. Add the garlic, lemon zest and salt. Slowly whisk in the olive oil; set aside.
  2. To make the salad, place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and continue cooking until the potatoes are tender but not mushy, 12 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, bring another pot of water to a boil and blanch the beans until crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain both the potatoes and beans. Place them in a large bowl and immediately toss them with the white wine and about half the vinaigrette. Stir in the roasted pepper, scallions, capers, olives and tuna. The salad may be made up until this point and kept at room temperature for 2 hours before proceeding with the rest of the recipe, if desired.
  3. As close to serving time as possible, mix the tomatoes, eggs and pine nuts into the salad. Moisten with a little more vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper. Shred the romaine into 3⁄4-inch-wide strips and toss with basil and remaining vinaigrette. Make a bed of the lettuce mixture over the bottom of a large serving platter. Top with the chopped Nicoise mixture and serve at once.

Serves 4 to 6.