Niçoise Salad

By • August 6, 2010 • 4 Comments

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Author Notes: In France and the US there are hundreds of variations of the niçoise salad that depart from the traditional preparation, some with successful and some with not-so-successful results (I’ve had more of the latter unfortunately).
So how do you ensure you get a kick-ass salad? With regards to the protein, I add anchovies and tuna to the salad. If you don’t like anchovies, uh… I don’t even know what to say. They’re incredible. Start learning to love them. As for the tuna, get good quality tuna, like albacore that is packed in olive oil. Even if you’re concerned with fat content, don’t get tuna packed in water. It’s a salad for gods sake! As for the produce, be sure to get it fresh and be meticulous in preparing it. You can read my rantings and ravings below with regards to prepping them.
Globetrotter

Serves 4

For the salad

  • 1 head of lettuce, chopped, rinsed and dried (Boston or Bibb)
  • 4 vine-ripped tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 5-7 small potatoes (red or fingerling)
  • 6 hardboiled eggs
  • 1/2 pound haricot verts (French green beans)
  • 10 anchovy fillets
  • 2 cans of good tuna packed in olive oil, such as albacore, drained
  • 1/3 cup Nicoise olives

Dressing

  • juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 cup good quality extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tablespoon finely minced shallot
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh herbs, such as tarragon, basil, chives, parsley (optional)
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  1. The Green Beans: Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Prepare a bowl with cold water and ice on the side. Dump your green beans into the pot and cook for about 6-7 minutes. Quickly drain your green beans and shock them in the bowl of cold water. This stops the cooking, leaving a bright green hue and crisp texture.
  2. The Potatoes: Fill a medium sized pot with water and put in your potatoes. Bring the water to a boil, and boil the potatoes until they are done (approximately 10-15 minutes, although this will vary depending on the size of them). You can tell they are done when you can stick a knife in one and it easily comes out. When they’ve cooled enough to handle, cut them into wedges and toss them in a couple spoonfuls of the salad dressing. Potatoes absorb flavor when they are warm.
  3. The Eggs: Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Carefully, slide in your eggs (being careful not to crack them). Turn the heat down and gently simmer them for 9 minutes. Take the eggs out and put them in a bowl of cold water. When they’ve completely cooled, peel them and cut them in half lengthwise. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper over them.
  4. The Dressing: Put all the ingredients into a jar with a lid or any tightly-sealed container. Put the lid on and shake all the ingredients vigorously, et voilà! Taste the dressing to see if it needs more salt or pepper.
  5. Now assemble all your ingredients, toss with the dressing and enjoy!
Jump to Comments (4)

Tags: anchovies, french, olives, Salads, tuna

Comments (4) Questions (0)

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7 months ago Franca

There is no mistaking that you are a truly French. Globetrotter I think your salad sounds lovely.

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7 months ago realchef

Sorry this is the tourist salad nicoise ...Salade Nicoise does not have : potatoes "no soil to grow them" mustard belong to Dauphine region , it was not available in nice . same for the shallots and definitely no kosher salt as it is reserved for food you are boiling ....But what Do I know aside of being a Master Chef I was also born in the south of France from a family going well over a thousands years .

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2 months ago Sandy Robinson

What is an authentic Nicoise recipe? The above recipe is basically what I've always seen...which I like, but I very much would like a real version. Thanks.

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2 months ago realchef

Thank you Ms Sandy Robinson.
Salad Nicoise had very humble beginning , it was considered one of these poor man dishes , they used only locally grown vegetables ,
Bib lettuce , Boston or butter
1 or 2 eggs sliced "yes that funny wire egg slicer"
Small raw fava bean , they had a special variety , {there are over 1500 varieties of beans available}
Cooked tuna
very thin slices of onions cut cross wise as not to feel like you are eating an hair
small bell pepper thinly cut in rings
Anchovies , staple were the salted type , wealthier used olive oil cured type.
Purple mini artichoke
Tomatoes , usually smaller size very firm and salted prior to use .
for the sauce it was about 6 large spoon of extra virgin olive oil
1 spoon of red wine vinegar "home made easy"
Fine salt which came from salieres du Midi near Montpellier , black pepper , and the finishing touch black olives , the real one not the junk made by the rubber co sold in can in supermarket , with no nutrition value .A spoon full of fresh chopped sweet basil with a sharp knife , take a second to clean board and knife , food processor tear the fibers altering both flavor and texture
That was it
Then people start to notice and it moved westward , in the Marseille area they added aioli as dressing , a bit more inland in Nimes "birth place of denim fabric" they added in some cases their Brandade de Morue , salted cod fish pounded into a paste with olive oil .
Bit north in the Drome area they started putting Potatoes and the dressing was made with extra strong Dijon mustard and garlic {by the way mustard should always be refrigerated, no one does that's why it has no flavor } the fava bean were replaced by green beans , multi color bell pepper , cucumbers , they used the dry cure lives from Nyons {fabulous flavor , poor's man caviar}
In short it has become a salad made with all the vegetables available , interestingly enough Tuna and anchovies were kept .
In the 1980 a lot of peoples put edible flower "nasturtium in them" has a peppery taste and really turned it into a show piece .
Salad nicoise contributed the most in peoples eating fresh vegetable , Thanks to Escoffier which was born and raised near by.
Now if one day you wonder where the sandwich come from , look no further than the Pan-Bagna , a small round bread , cut in half remove the inside , wet with olive oil {sound familiar} I garlic clove crushed , one tomatoes sliced , 1 hard boil egg, 2 anchovies , 5 or 6 black olives chopped 3 oz of tuna , couples leaves of butter lettuce , fiune green beans , sometimes caper , this was created and sold in bakeries only about well over 200 years before Earl of Sandwich was born and Casino created. LOL
Hope I was not too boring .