A sort of salade Niçoise

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There are many recipes for Salade Niçoise, and disagreements about whether or not it should contain potato, and so on, but it usually does have tomatoes in it.  At this time of year we can see the green tomatoes developing on our plants but it will be a couple of weeks at least before we pick ripe ones, so I decided to make a very simple salad without them.

Serves 4 as a first course or side dish, 2 as a main dish

400 grams cooked haricot beans, chopped into 3 – 4 cm pieces

1 small cucumber or half a long one, chopped

lettuce leaves to line the dish

4 hard-boiled eggs, quartered

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

8 anchovy fillets

18 – 20 black olives

8 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

salt, black pepper

Arrange the lettuce leaves around a large salad bowl.  Add the haricot beans in a layer, followed by the cucumber and the chopped garlic.  Arrange the anchovy fillets, pieces of hard-boiled egg and black olives on top.  Make a vinaigrette dressing by mixing a pinch of salt into the balsamic vinegar then whisking in the olive oil.  Pour this over the salad and grind plenty of black pepper over it as well.  Serve with crusty bread.

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I used marinaded anchovy fillets, usually eaten with drinks, but you can use salted ones too.

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