Deceptively Stunning Salade Nicoise

By • February 21, 2012 1 Comments

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Author Notes: Trick your dinner guests with this dish; it's not nearly as complicated as it looks. All cooked items - save for the tuna - can be made in the same pot, in the same water. This salad has a pleasantly clean flavor, but if you like a little more kick, I might suggest adding thinly sliced red onion and/or anchovies. Enjoy! *Hard-boiled egg technique from David Tanis' A Platter of Figs.juliabecker

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Serves 4

For the dressing:

  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • honey (optional)
  • salt and pepper
  1. Place the garlic, sherry vinegar, mustard, lemon and orange juice in a medium bowl and mix to combine. Season with salt and pepper and let sit about 10 minutes.
  2. After 10 minutes, pour the olive oil in in a slow and steady stream, whisking constantly. Taste and adjust the seasoning. If the dressing is too strong for your taste, you can add a bit of honey or a bit more orange juice to lighten it up.

For the salad:

  • 3/4 pound baby mixed salad greens
  • 3/4 pound fingerling potatoes, scrubbed and cut to match the smallest potatoes
  • 1/2 pound blue lake green beans (or another slim bean), trimmed
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 pint black nicoise olives, pitted
  • 1 pound sear-grade tuna
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons black sesame seeds
  • salt and pepper
  1. To prepare the vegetables and eggs: Bring a large saucepan filled with generously salted water to boil. Add the fingerlings and cook until tender when pierced with a fork, about 10-15 minutes.
  2. Remove the potatoes and add the green beans, boiling until cooked but still crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove the beans from the pan and place in an ice bath. This helps stop the beans from cooking and retains the bright green color.
  3. Add the three eggs to the same saucepan filled with boiling water. Let cook nine minutes, then remove to an ice bath. Once the eggs are cool enough to handle, tap them lightly on a hard surface just to crack, then return to the cool water (this allows water to permeate the shell, making it easier to peel). At this point you can peel the eggs, cut them in half length-wise and then cut each half in thirds.*
  4. To prepare the tuna: Place the tuna on a small plate or in a bowl. Add the juice of half a lemon plus salt and pepper and let sit about 10 minutes.
  5. Just before you are ready to eat, heat a cast-iron skillet to high heat and rub with a bit of canola oil (assuming your pan is properly seasoned – if not, add more oil).
  6. Pat the tuna dry, season with salt and pepper and add to the pan, cooking only about 2-3 minutes per side, just until lightly browned.
  7. While the tuna is cooking, pour the sesame seeds on a small plate that fits the tuna. Remove the tuna from the pan and dip all sides in the sesame seeds. Let rest about 5 minutes then cut into thin slices against the grain.
  8. Dress the salad, arrange the tuna with the additions on a platter and serve!

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