Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tuesday: Philharmonic Picnic in Central Park

One of my favorite New York City traditions is going to Central Park to hear the philharmonic perform. It's the one night of the year you feel safe in the park after dark since tens of thousands of people are crowded on the Great Lawn (and nearby areas) to eat, drink, relax...and, in some cases, actually listen to the music! While there are those that go low key -- a bottle of wine, perhaps a take out pizza -- others stage quite elaborate picnics, complete with tables, candles and an assortment of food and drink. My friends fall into the later camp.

This year, we schlepped blankets and mini coolers, along with citronella candles and a battery-powered lantern, and food...lots of food. From the standard cheese and crudités (gussied up in a Pampered Chef Chillzanne) to soppressata and tabbouleh. My contributions included mini cans of Sofia Blanc de Blanc (so cute) as well as a tuna niçoise pasta salad.

The beauty of this salad is that it's mayo-free, but still chock full of interesting flavors and textures. And although the recipe calls for some fresh ingredients, the others are easy to keep in your cupboard to have on hand when inspiration strikes...or when an impromptu picnic is on the agenda!

Tuna Niçoise Pasta Salad For this recipe, I used shallot, tomato and basil from the farmers market. The other ingredients were from, you guessed it, Trader Joes.

8 oz. Dried pasta (I used farfalle)
1 Can Tuna in water
1 T. Capers
3 T. Olives, quartered (if you cannot find niçoise olives, use Kalamata)
1 Med. Tomato, roughly chopped
1 C. Haricot vert, roughly chopped
1 T. Dijon mustard
1 Lemon, juiced
3 T. Olive oil
1 Shallot, minced
1/4 C. Feta cheese, crumbled
3 T. basil, Chiffonade
Fresh ground black pepper
Cook pasta to package directions; rinse drain and cool.
Add drained tuna with next four ingredients (capers to haricot vert).
In a small bowl, combine mustard, lemon juice, shallot and olive oil; blitz with immersion blender until all ingredients are well incorporated.
Toss dressing with tuna pasta mixture; add feta and basil.
Season with a little salt to taste (remember that capers, olives and feta are salty!) and ground pepper.


Dyas said...

Nice blog, nice photos!!

fresh365 said...

So fun! I've been wanting to do a music/picnic night soon! Thanks for the inspiration!