In my opinion a salad has to have slightly crunchy blanched green beans, crunchy gem lettuce, boiled new potatoes, only-just-set boiled eggs, black olives and most importantly anchovies. Tuna is a no go I'm afraid despite it's prevalence, and other accompaniments such as red onion and tomato are great, but not a deal breaker as such.
So surely with a crisp, fresh, vibrant salad a White Wine is the only thing that will do? Well no. But a beer match is a little tricky. It's got to be refreshing, slightly citrussy and crisp, yet essentially uncomplicated - Anything too boisterous on the flavour front will smack out any subtlety from the salad. That said, this dish has some big salty flavours too meaning anything too wimpy like a pale lager might get lost in the mix and not really add anything flavourwise.
I'd been toying with the idea of a Wheat beer but didn't want anything too thick, orangey or, well, wheatie. As usual I was thinking too outside the box, trying to go for an obscure beer geeks brew when actually the answer was sat their in the fridge at Tescos on my way home... Hoegaarden. It's a great beer that I hardly ever drink, yet it's absolutely perfect for this sort of dish as it's easy drinking, not overly wheatie, fresh and lemony with just a hint of orange and yeastyness.
Essentially a perfect match for this crisp, vinegary, salty salad.
To make my 'proper' you need:
- A large handful of green beans, cooked for 4-5 mins until barely soft
- 2 Eggs, boiled for 5 and a 1/2 to 6mins (depending on size) then left to cool, shelled and quartered.
- 1 Tin of anchovies in olive oil
- 1 Large gem lettuce, base cut off and leaves roughly torn
- About 8 new potatoes, halved, cooked, cooled
- Small pot of black or purple kalamata olives, stones removed and halved
- Half a red onion, thinly sliced
- 3 Tomatoes cut into wedges
Mix 2 parts White wine vinegar with 1 part Extra Virgin Olive Oil, a dash of dijon, a bit of the Anchovy oil, and a good twist of salt and pepper. It should be sharp and vinegary to cut through the saltiness of the anchovies and olives.
Once everything is cooked and cooled it's really just an assembly job. Dress the salad leaves and green beans then assemble everything else on top and drizzle with a little more dressing.
Now all we need is a little sunshine......