We were recently served a small portion of this as a starter in one of those “menu du jour” restaurants in the Dordogne. The ones where there is no choice for lunch and you get what there is on the menu that day, which usually includes cheese and wine as part of the all-in price. On that particular day we had garlic soup, this salad, entrecote and frites, cheese, crème brulée and a glass of wine all for 12.50€ including bread and the only extra we paid was for two espressos.
The dish has its origins somewhere in the prawn cocktail years* and it reminded me of the 1970’s buffet table delights that I used to serve up at family parties. I enjoyed it so much that I wasted no time in recreating something very similar for lunch one day once we were back home. The main reason for me writing this post is so that I can remember how I did it!
*”The Prawn Cocktail Years” is actually the title of an excellent cookbook by Simon Hopkinson and Lindsey Bareham. It includes recipes for many of the old favourites of the 1970’s which every self respecting housewife should have been able to rustle up to impress friends and family at social occasions. I was really lucky and picked up a copy in pristine condition in a charity shop a couple of years ago.
4tblsp any mini pasta – I used 2 tblsp each of risetti and etioles but alphabet pasta would be nice too.
2 hard boiled eggs, quartered
1 small tin tuna, drained and flaked
2 inches of cucumber, cut into 1cm cubes
6 cherry tomatoes, halved
2 spring onions, thinly sliced, or half a small red onion, diced
1 small tin sweetcorn, drained
salt and pepper to taste
1 tblsp mayonnaise or crème fraîche, as required
a few chopped chives
Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet, drain and leave to cool.
Add all the other ingredients and mix well to combine, using enough mayo or crème fraîche to loosen it to your taste.
Serve with a small green salad and crusty bread as a starter or lunch dish. You could of course add any other bits and pieces that take your fancy, such as chopped red or yellow pepper, quartered radish and so on, depending on what you have in the fridge. Back in the day I would have used rice instead of the pasta.
Serves 6 as a starter, 4 portions as a lunch course.