A ‘LOST’ Star’s Favorite Salad

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - February 03, 2010
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Michael Emerson is an actor who has always been somewhat of a mystery. One of LOST‘s most-intriguing stars, he seems to specialize in the role of misunderstood villain. That’s why it came as no surprise that he suggested a recipe that is equally a mystery to many of us in the islands: Salade Niçoise.

Salade Niçoise (French pronunciation: ni’swaz) is mouth-watering. Its origins are from the Cote D’Azur in France, and is named for the city of Nice. It was made famous in America by Julia Child.

With that mystery cleared up, let’s get back to Emerson. While he may play the villain convincingly on stage and screen - giving us all the creeps - this is simply a testament to his excellent acting skills. In real life, Emerson is an all-around great guy who is dedicated to helping communities here in Hawaii and supporting causes around the world.

Emerson regularly takes time out of his busy schedule to support the arts and arts education. While filming in Hawaii, he’s been active in both Honolulu Theatre for Youth and Honolulu Symphony, where he donated his time and talent as a narrator to concerts in 2009. He also has volunteered on the jury for our local chapter of the National Society of Arts and Letters drama competition.

We’re thankful to Emerson - and other artists like him - who give so generously to communities across Hawaii. Stateside, he is equally active as a philanthropist. He supports off-off-Broadway theater and theater-community charities such as Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and Gay Men’s Health Crisis, as well as publicly supported radio stations.

If you’ve not had a chance to follow LOST, don’t let the names Michael Emerson or Ben Linus continue to pose a mystery. Catch past seasons on DVD or watch the show weekly on Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. on ABC (the final season kicked off last week).

As for our delectable Salade Niçoise recipe, take a chance and try it this weekend. Perhaps this famous French export will find a permanent home in your recipe book.

The salad is arranged on a flat plate with the ingredients grouped together. It is said the original version included red peppers, shal-lots and artichoke hearts. There are several different versions, and canned tuna is used, as well as ingredients such as hard-boiled eggs, potatoes, and anchovies. It is still debated as to what the original salad included. It is traditionally served with a Dijon vinaigrette dressing drizzled on top. This version uses seared ahi.


* 1 pound small potatoes, quartered
* 1/2 pound fresh green beans, raw or slightly poached
* 1 cup Niçoise or Kalamata olives
* 1/3 cup lemon juice
* 2 tablespoons salad oil
* 4 teaspoons brown mustard or Dijon-style mustard
* 3/4 teaspoon dried dill weed
* 2 tablespoons water
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/8 teaspoon pepper
* lettuce leaves, torn into pieces
* fresh ahi, sprinkled with sea salt and coarse black pepper, seared on both sides
* 2 medium tomatoes, seeded and cut into chunks
* 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings
* 2 hard-cooked eggs, cut into wedges

In a large saucepan, bring 2 inches of water to boiling. Add potatoes, cover and simmer 10 minutes or just until tender. Drain potatoes. Cover and chill beans and potatoes separately for two to 24 hours.

To serve, tear lettuce into pieces and place leaves on a platter. Arrange potatoes, beans, olives, ahi, tomatoes, onion and eggs atop lettuce.

Shake dressing and drizzle over salad.

For Dressing:

In a screw-top jar combine lemon juice, oil, mustard, dill weed, water, salt and pepper. Cover and shake well to blend. Chill for two to 24 hours.

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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