Salade Niçoise (Sah-lod Ni-swaz) is from the southern French city of Nice. It is traditionally made of tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, Niçoise olives, anchovies, and dressed with olive oil. Like all classic dishes in French cuisine, there are two constants: First, only the freshest ingredients from local farms where used to compose a dish. Second, an ongoing raging debate between the purists, who believe the traditional recipe is the only recipe, and those cooks who have created new and exciting versions based on the original.
By tossing the salad instead of the traditional composing, using tuna instead of anchovies, and cooked rather than raw vegetables, this version of Salade Niçoise lands squarely on the heathen side of the debate. What can’t be debated, though, is how delicious this salad can be.
- Large bowl
- Container with lid
- 1 large Head of Boston lettuce, chopped, or a bagged mesclun mix
- 1 lb Green beans or French haricots vertes, trimmed Flash frozen OK
- 4 medium Boiling potato Yukon Gold or Red
- 6 large Eggs
- 12 Cherry tomatoes, halved
- 3 oz Can of tuna in oil, drained
- 4 Anchovy fillets packed in oil and finely minced (optional)
- 1 pinch Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup Black olives, pitted
- 2 tbsp Drained capers
- 3 tbsp Minced flat-leaf parsley or fresh basil
- 1 small Shallot or 1 tbsp minced red onion
- 1 half Onion, peeled and halved
- 1 tsp Dried thyme
- 4 medium Garlic cloves, 3 crushed and 1 minced for vinaigrette
- ¾ cup Extra-virgin olive oil
- ¾ cup Vinaigrette – recipe below
- Set a bowl of ice cold water in the sink. Put green beans and ¼ cup water in a large plastic freezer bag ¾ sealed. Microwave on high for 3 minutes and immediately drain and dump in a bowl of cold water for 15 minutes to stop cooking. Drain beans, pat dry, cut beans in half then put beans aside or refrigerate up-to 2 days.
- Microwave the potatoes for 12 minutes with onion quarters, garlic cloves, tsp salt, and thyme added to ¼ water and potatoes in another plastic bag ¾ sealed. When done drain and leave in the colander until cooled to room temperature. Roughly crumble into a bowl until ready to assemble salad or put whole potatoes in refrigerator to use later.
- Place eggs in a cold sauce pan, add water to cover by 1 inch, put on cover and bring to boil. When boiling point reached, lower heat to medium-high and set timer for 7 minutes. When time is up, transfer eggs to bowl of ice water to cool for a couple of minutes. Peel eggs and If using right away, cut in half from tip-to-tip. Refrigerate whole if using later.
- To serve, add everything except the eggs to a big bowl. Toss with enough vinaigrette to lightly coat everything in salad. Season with salt and pepper then either serve in a big bowl or divide equally between serving bowls or small plates and garnish with eggs cut-side up.
Vinaigrette for Salade Nicoise
- In a large jar with lid, combine shallot, Dijon mustard, minced anchovies, 1 tbsp water, minced garlic, and vinegar. Cover and shake. Add ¾ cup olive oil, cover and shake like a maniac to emulsify. Season with salt and a lot of ground pepper. Put aside if using soon or refrigerate for a week-or-two.
- Vinaigrette, eggs, potatoes, and green beans can all be made a day-or-two in advance and finished just prior to assembling salad.
- To finish refrigerated potatoes, squish each flat with the bottom of a cast iron frying pan. Add 2 tbsp of olive oil and cook both sides to a crispy brown. Lightly salt. Drain on paper towels then crumble chunks into salad.