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World Cup Match Day 9: France

Greetings, sports/deliciously light food fans! It's World Cup day nine, brought to you by the letters TGIF. Today's action features a resolute Italian squad going toe-to-toe (see what I did there? Toes, 'cause it's fútbol...) with a Costa Rican squad no one saw coming, a game nobody outside of Honduras or Ecuador will really want to watch, and a French squad looking to test the Swiss team's offensive neutrality (see: WWII).

For dinner last night, my friend Mark and I whipped up today's match day dish, Tuna Niçoise. I've included a photo of our effort below. Truthfully, it was really Tuna sans Niçoise, because olives are to my palette what modesty is to Kanye (see: undesirable). The salad was actually qui—

"Hold up, Matthew! I'll let you finish, but you're right…I've got about thiiis much modesty." Photo by Didier Baverel/WireImage/Getty Images

Rude. As I was saying, the salad was actually quite delicious. Almost as delicious as, say, a French victory today, which would all but lock down their spot in the knockout round. Speaking of knockouts, have you met my friend Zinedine? He's French, too!

What? This is how we shake hands in Marseille. Photo: JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images

We have fun here. Speaking of fun, ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FÚTBOL!? Pretty sure I can say that without fear of retribution from Hank Jr. at this point. Either way, it's day nine—and Friday! Have a great World Cup!

Match to Watch: France vs. Switzerland 

THUNDERDOME: Fondue Edition. Two chocolate-loving countries enter, one chocolate-loving country leaves. Photos: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Sport and Patrick Kovarik/AFP/Getty Images

Les Bleus come into this game hoping to build off their dominant showing against Honduras, while the Swiss are hopeful Karim Benzema & Co. don't poke holes in their defensive back line like so much cheese…Swiss cheese, that is. In all seriousness, this French team will give the Schweizer Nati all they can handle and then some. Switzerland needed stoppage time to snatch a victory from Ecuador, but the French will have this game locked up long before the 93rd minute. I'm all Vive la France for this one! My Pick: France 2, Switzerland 0 

Player to Watch: Karim Benzema

Much like Liam Neeson, Benzema has a particular set of skills. Skills that make him a nightmare for people like Swiss defenders. He already notched a brace (fútbol for two) against Honduras in the opener, and he's just getting warmed up. Look for him and Paul Pogba to link up and create all sorts of problems for the Swiss.

Match Day Dish: Seared Tuna Niçoise (France)

Seared Tuna Niçoise (sans niçoise) Photo: Matthew Moore

There are few foods as divine as salted, seared, and sliced tuna. This "salad" was unlike any I've ever experienced, which was exciting and refreshing. No need for extra seasoning here—the tomatoes and olives (if you so choose to include) soak up the flavor from the dijon dressing and complement the whole dish in kind. Make this recipe, take some pictures, and send them into our Instagram contest with the hashtag #CLKickingDishes for a chance to win (details here). Happy World Cup Friday! Cheers.

 

Seared Tuna Niçoise

Hands-on Time: 19 min. Total Time: 36 min.

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups quartered small red potatoes
  • 1 cup haricots verts, trimmed
  • Cooking spray $
  • 2 (6-ounce) tuna steaks
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2/3 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup pitted and quartered niçoise olives
1. Place eggs in a large saucepan. Cover with water to 1 inch above eggs. Bring just to a boil. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 15 minutes. Drain; cool in ice water 5 minutes. Peel eggs; cut each egg into 4 slices. 2. Place potatoes in pan; cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 12 minutes. Add beans, and cook 3 minutes. Drain; plunge beans into ice water for 1 minute. Drain well. 3. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle tuna with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Add tuna to pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Cut thinly across the grain. 4. Combine remaining salt, oil, vinegar, and mustard in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add tomatoes and olives; toss. Divide eggs, potatoes, beans, and tuna among 4 plates; top with tomato mixture.