Thursday nights at our house are the toughest night to cook because we all have to be out the door by 6:30.
Many Thursday nights we do grilled cheese sandwiches with a soup, but sometimes I’d like a little something more.
This week, I decided to make a variation on salade nicoise with an effort on minimizing the time spent in the kitchen and maximizing the time we can spend together as a family around the dinner table. That means doing some simple prep on Wednesday night.
After getting the kids to bed, the green beans get a rinse, are snapped and are put into a steamer basket. Potatoes get cut into quarters and tucked into a pot of salted water— and the steamer basket goes on top. This goes on high heat for about 15 minutes until the beans are tender and the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork/ sharp knife.
The potatoes and beans get a rinse of cold water, shaken dry and bundled into a Tupperware that’s tucked in the fridge over night.
Instead of cooking fish on Wednesday night (or Thursday), I picked-up smoked mackerel from the grocers (though any smoked fish—or even tinned tuna—could work here).
Thursday night is simply about getting home, setting the table and assembling the plates with arugula, green beans, mixed olives, potatoes, beans and smoked mackerel, topped with a basic vinaigrette. The kids have the choice of eating this as a composed salad or having a more traditional plate of fish, with a side of potatoes, beans, and olives (I used to include hard boil eggs, but they were so rarely eaten by any of us that I just leave them out. If you dig eggs, add them back in).
Food is on the table in under 10 mins, we can all talk about our day and we’re all out the door well fed…
12 ounces/ 340 grams green beans
4 small potatoes, quartered
1 whole mackerel, smoked
4 cups salad greens
Half a cup mixed olives
Hard boiled eggs, quartered (Optional)
VINAIGRETTE (a simple variation on Julia Child’s classic)
1/3 cup sherry vinegar (original calls for red vinegar)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Mix the mustard and vinegar in a bowl and then, whisking vigorously, slowly add the oil in a steady stream until the dressing thickens and emulsifies.
Get Mike’s meal-planning tips here.