Fancy Tuna Nicoise
The trusty old classic salad just got a super upgrade! To be perfectly honest, I have never been a massive fan of the traditional version, but this pimped out bowl is utterly delicious!
Due to the glorious weather we had this weekend, I am still clinging to all things light and summery and will not succumb to cosy, warming autumnal food quite yet! I will not go down without a fight! This salad is sunshine on a plate and provides a rainbow of five different brightly coloured vegetables, as well as good quality protein from the tuna.
What’s in it?
· Grilled baby gem lettuce
· Garlic roasted baby potatoes and rainbow radishes
· Quick blanched green beans
· Charred corn on the cobb
· Lightly seared tuna steak
· Cherry Tomatoes
As you might have guessed, this isn’t exactly a throw-together-in-5-minutes kind of dish, but some things are worth waiting for and this was certainly one of those things! Although having said that, I just roasted some extra baby potatoes and radishes with dinner the night before, so that they were ready to throw in the salad at lunchtime. This cuts down on the time it takes to make the salad and I have been reading up on some very interesting characteristics of potatoes once they have been cooked and cooled. In order for me to explain what on earth I mean, I will have to take a quick detour to science class, but please bear with me!
Potatoes contain something called resistant starch, which is a special carbohydrate that, unlike normal starches, is actually resistant to digestion (hence the name). It passes through the intestines without being broken down and is what’s called a prebiotic: which is a substance that provides food for the friendly bacteria in your large intestines. And the happier the good bacteria in your gut – the better!
What I found quite fascinating is that one type of resistant starch is formed when foods are cooked and then cooled, which is a process called starch retrogradation. It occurs when, due to the cooking process, some starches lose their original structure and if these starches are later cooled (like my day old roast potatoes!), a new structure is formed. The new structure is resistant to digestion and leads to many health benefits, like increasing your pre-biotic fibre intake, improving insulin sensitivity and helping to stabilise blood sugar levels. But what is also so interesting, is that research has shown that resistant starch still remains higher even after reheating these foods that have previously been cooled. So if you are struggling to get enough fibre in your diet, through these steps, it’s easy to increase the resistant starch content in common foods. Simply by cooking and cooling potatoes, rice and pasta; it provides an easy way to increase your fibre intake without actually changing what you eat – just the way in which you prepare it. And as a total foodie nerd, I find that mind blowingly interesting!
NOTE: Be careful to reheat any cooked and cooled rice thoroughly to avoid food poisoning.