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Thursday, September 15, 2011

50 Women Game-Changers (in Food): #15 Sheila Lukins & Julee Rosso - Salad Niçoise

In May '11, Gourmet posted a list of 50 Women Game-Changers (in Food) that runs the gamut from food writers to cookbook authors to television personalities to restauranteurs to chefs to food bloggers.  Some are a given.  Some are controversial.  Speaking the names of some brings fond childhood memories.  Speaking the names of others will make some readers cringe.  And of course, some of our favorites were not even included.  We food-lovers are a passionate bunch of people and whether we agree or disagree, every woman on this list has earned her place for a reason.  Being a woman who is passionate about food (cooking, eating, talking about, writing about, photographing), when I caught wind of Mary from One Perfect Bite's idea of cooking/blogging her way through each of these 50 per week...I knew I wanted to join her.  Many of these women paved the way for us in culinary school, in the kitchen, in cookbooks, in food writing, and on television and I think it is a fabulous way to pay tribute to their efforts.  Some of the women on the list have been tops with me for years.  Some I have heard of (perhaps even seen, read, or cooked from) before.  And there are even a handful that I am not familiar with at all.  I excited to educate myself on each of these women game-changers and hope you look forward to reading along.  We are going in order from 1 to 50.
the "Gourmet" prompt...
15. Sheila Lukins and Julee Rosso- It’s hard to overstate the influence of The Silver Palate—the 1982 cookbook named after the gourmet emporium this pair opened in 1977 on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Before, there was no ratatouille; after, there was chicken Marbella.

I think I may have to shield my head from flying objects when I say...I had never heard of Sheila Lukins or Julee Rosso before I found their names on the list.  {ducking head}  I do think that I'd heard of The Silver Palate Cookbook before, though...but never actually held it in my hands or looked through it before a couple of weeks ago when I checked it out from the library.  So, I did what I normally do and started paging through, leaving little strips of paper poking out here and there.  Okay, so...another cookbook to for ever-growing, never-ending "want" list.  It is packed with cooking tips, kitchen info, menus, quotes, and lots and lots of good-looking food.

Sheila Lukins first received a degree in Art Education from NYU and eventually attending Le Cordon Bleu in France and studied with Michelin-starred chefs in Bordeaux.  She then started The Other Woman Catering Company, which was how she met Julee Rosso (she was living with a client of Sheila's and had eaten her food many times).  Together they opened a 156 square foot take-away food shop and kitchen on the Upper West side which was modeled on a French traiteur, called The Silver Palate.  Shortly after, they wrote The Silver Palate Cookbook which has already been released in its 25th Anniversary Edition.  After feuding and "breaking up", the shop eventually closed around '93.  Lukins worked as a food editor and columnist for Parade Magazine (a position formerly held by Julia Child) for 23 years.  She succumbed to brain cancer at the age of 66.

Julee Rosso on the other hand, is a bit more elusive.  But what I was able to discover, I really liked.  She graduated from Michigan State University (GO STATE!).  Yeah, I'm easy.  Along with her husband, she has owned The Wickwood Inn in Saugatuck, Michigan since 1991...and she teaches cooking classes.  Her biography states that "she continues to be passionate about good food and health everyday".
Salad Niçoise
slightly adapted from The Silver Palate Cookbook
To make a Pan Bagnat (the official beach sandwich of Nice), prepare salad in advance and layer it into a hollowed-out baguette.  The longer the salad rests on the bread, the more the two become one.
makes 6-8 portions

8 new potatoes (~1 lb.), scrubbed
2 lbs. green beans, cooked
10 very ripe plum tomatoes, washed and quartered
1 small purple onion, thinly sliced
½ c. niçoise olives
¼ c. chopped Italian parsley
pinch of salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
¾ c. "Silver Palate" Vinaigrette *recipe follows
6 hard-cooked eggs, shelled & quartered lengthwise
12 oz. canned oil-packed tuna, well drained
2 oz. anchovy fillets (optional)

Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until tender but not mushy, ~10 minutes.  When cool enough to handle, quarter the potatoes and transfer them to a large bowl.

Add the green beans, tomatoes, onion, olives, parsley, a pinch of salt, and pepper.  Pour ½ cup of the vinaigrette over the vegetables and toss gently but well.  Transfer the mixture to a large serving platter.  Arrange salad informally, or as follows: Place the egg quarters around the edge of the platter.  Flake the tuna over the salad and arrange the anchovy fillets, if you use them, over the tuna.  Drizzle with additional vinaigrette and serve at room temperature.
*"Silver Palate" Vinaigrette
yield: 1 c.

1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
¼ c. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. sugar
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
minced fresh parsley and/or sipped fresh chives, to taste
½ c. olive oil

I just throw everything into a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake-shake-shake!
Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins (11/18/42 - 8/30/09)
Who is cooking along with these 50 Women Game-Changers?

I am also sharing this post with:
Miz-Helen-Badge-ALT5 foodfriday Souper_Sundays2

Would you like to comment?

  1. such a mouthwatering Salad Nicoise you got here!!!

  2. I loved the background information you provided for us and your salad is one of the all-time bests. I'm so glad you joined us on this journey. You bring great gift to the table. have a great day.Blessings...Mary

  3. That cookbook has been on my list forever! Must get it! I have a few by Julie Russo that are geared towards healthy eating.

  4. Love, love, love this post! First of all, this team of women really influenced me when I first married and started 'this kitchen thing' - I have three books by them and one by Sarah Leah Chase, one of their cohorts. I am never tired of leafing through these books and marking pages with 'the next fun recipe'. This salad is just beautiful and nutritious! And beautifully photographed!

  5. Beautiful salad and a great shot of it.

  6. I have seen that book at the library but now you got my attention about it. Will check it out next time. The salad looks divine for a nice lunch.


    Thanks for stopping by at the guest Hispanic Month blogger series.

  7. i have never had a nicoise salad, but it looks wonderful! great tribute post!

  8. The Silver Palette cookbooks fly out of our used bookshop as fast as they come in!

    That salad looks yummy :)

  9. Even growing up in NYC, I'd only heard of the restaurant but never the two ladies behind it. I'm loving this salad! Full of so many delicious mix-ins...nicoise perfection.

  10. Que buena ensalada, me gusta.


  11. What a gorgeous looking salad! I would love to try this.

  12. Se antoja esta ensalada con este calorcito !!
    Gracias por tus comentarios en mi blog :D
    Lindas fotos

  13. this is one of my most favorite salads. i have a life-long friend who actually gets angry with me when i order it...i don't know why...but when she sees it on a menu she gets all edgy. truth be makes me want to order it more :) your photo is gorgeous!

  14. first time i've heard of the ladies' names (now, do i need to duck, too? lol)...but am loving the salad!

    thanks so much for sharing this yummy platter over at Food Friday, Heather!
    yummm yummm yummm....

  15. Good choice! Your Salad Niçoise looks fabulous. That's one salad I've never made from this book and I can't imagine why. Will have to rectify that!

  16. You're not quite old enough to remember Sheila and Julee, but when their cookbooks came out they revolutionized the way we thought about food. You've done them justice BBFF:D

  17. I've never heard of them, but oh my that is the perfect salad nicoise!

  18. You presented this dish so beautifully, and looking at your photo I feel like this salad is the perfect example of why the Mediterranean diet is so healthy. I could eat this every day.

  19. I love this salad - so pretty and satisfying (I'm an anchovy lover!). Nice tribute to these two ladies.

  20. Hi Heather,
    Your post has motivated me to search out some of these cookbooks by these great ladies. I just love your Salad Nicoise, it looks delicious! Hope you are having a great week and thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  21. THAT is a salad?! It looks amazing!! I've never had this type before, but I might have to try it soon. Seems like it'd be delicious! :D

  22. It looks like every bite of your salad would be filled with tasty morsels! What kind of tuna did you use? It looks fantastic!

  23. This is one of my favorite dinner salads - thanks!

  24. I can think of no better way to celebrate!

  25. I am not going to throw things at your head but I am surprised you had not heard of them. ;-) The Silver Palate Cookbook was one of my first grown-up cookbook purchases when I was just starting out.

    Thanks for sharing your salad with Souper Sundays, Nicoise salads are some of my favorites.

  26. Can you believe I have never had, let alone made a Salad Niçoise? But, whenever I hear the name, I always think of the movie "White Chicks" - know what I mean? Your salad looks fabulous!

  27. I love a good Salad Nicoise and am always improvising, but for once should just do it by the book.

  28. I have always wanted to make this. So what's been stopping me? I have no idea! Looks just delicious!

  29. Never seen a salad quite like that before. Now that is not something that will help you shed some pounds ;)