“You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients.”
Tastes Just Like the South of France!
Not unlike the way a scent can send your hurtling back through time to a memory of a time or a person, flavours can do much the same. Take beer… I’m not a big beer drinker by any standards (mostly as it would cut into the wine drinking calorie allotment!) but occasionally, if all the conditions are just right, that first sip of beer transports me directly to the dock at my parent’s cottage in the Haliburton Highlands. I swear I can hear the water lapping at the end of the dock and feel the rhythmic thump of the paddle boat gently rocking against its bumpers.
My daughter, who makes me laugh daily with her often hilarious insights says she can always tell when we are approaching expensive-possibly-out-of-our-price-range-stores as she can smell the lemon water. And even a whiff of cardamom takes me immediately to my Sittoo’s pantry. The smell of fresh mint will always remind me of my gorgeous garden at our previous home as it got a little out of control in one corner. So out of control in fact that I like to think the people who bought the house (and subsequently tore it down to build a behemoth in its place) will wonder why the north-eastern corner of their newly dug basement has a distinctive minty scent. Fingers crossed!
There are a lot of food flavours that remind me of the South of France. I learned so much on that trip about not just food and flavours, but probably more importantly how to better appreciate them. I had never before considered drinking chilled red wine, but on a hot summer’s night in Provence it could not have been more perfect. Picnics of charcuterie, unbelievably good olives, two or three cheeses and a crusty baguette may seem a simple idea but when enjoyed overlooking a lavender field and an ancient fortified village, they combine to provide a flavour that I’ll never forget as long as I live.
Niçoise Salad is another thing that once you’ve tasted it with a view of the Mediterranean Sea you may very well think that you’ve experienced everything wonderful this world has to offer. And you may very well be correct, but imagine many of those same ingredients tossed with some perfectly cooked tagliatelle, an excellent extra virgin olive oil, a spritz of freshly squeezed lemon juice and TONS of black pepper!
This pasta dish is quick and easy, healthy and beyond delicious. Make it for those you love and watch as memories are created right before your eyes!
Enjoy & Namaste!
- Tagliatelle pasta, cooked
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp chilli pepper flakes, more or less to taste
- 2 small tuna steaks, best quality available
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 6-8 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
- 2 large handfuls lightly steamed green beans, frozen works well if beans are not yet in season
- 1 cup black olives
- large handful grape tomatoes halved
- ¼ cup lines juice
- Flat leaf parsley, rough chopped to garnish
- TONS of fresh ground black pepper
- Combine olive oil and chilli pepper flakes in a small bowl and allow to sit for an hour or more
- This would be a good time to prep the rest of your ingredients and get the pasta water boiling. The steaks and sauce will take about the same amount of time to cook as the pasta.
- Heat a cast iron or other heavy-bottomed pan with a drizzle of the chilli oil until oil begins to shimmer
- Add tuna steaks to sear, cooking about 3-4 minutes per side, you will know it is time to flip the steaks when they come away from bottom of pan without sticking.
- Remove steaks from pan and allow to rest on a cutting board
- Add the remainder of the chilli oil, garlic and anchovies, stirring constantly until they become fragrant
- Add green beans, halved tomatoes and black olives to pan, stirring to coat
- Add lime juice and cooked pasta, tossing to coat
- Finish with plenty of fresh ground black pepper and a sprinkle of parsley