Thursday, June 10, 2010

Nicoise Salad

The Nicoise is by far my favorite salad. In my early twenties I would order it to go from a French pastry shop on my way to work. It's light, yet hearty, and satisfies even those who consider salad "rabbit food". Prep the entire salad earlier in the day so that you can go out, and play before dinner instead of schlepping away in a hot kitchen. Serve it with foccacia or crusty bread, and you can proudly serve it to guests. I used fresh tuna filets which I seared, but canned tuna is what this salad usually calls for. I prefer tuna canned in olive oil if using.

In this version I used mache instead of Boston lettuce. Apparently there is debate among purist about which lettuce should be used. Since no purists were present I used what I preferred! According to Wikipedia this salad originated in Nice thus the name Nicoise. Here is a link to a Nicoise Salad recipe that is truer to the original than mine, (the recipe and commentary are in French). In France cooked vegetables are a no no in this salad. I happen to enjoy the new potatoes and green beans, and many in North America expect these 2 cooked vegetables to be present in a Nicoise.

Nicoise Salad
(serves 8 as a meal)
  • 250 ml (1 cup) extra virgin olive oil
  • 30 ml (2 tablespoons) fresh lemon juice
  • 45 ml (3 tablespoons) apple cider or white wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 15 ml (1 tablespoon) chopped fresh basil
  • 15 ml (1 tablespoon) chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Whisk the vinaigrette ingredients until well blended, and set aside.

  • 15 small new potatoes, boiled and halved
  • 250 g (1/2 lb) green beans, blanched and halved
  • 4 eggs, hard boiled, halved or quartered (more eggs are needed if you are serving this salad to kids!)
  • 20 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 small tuna steaks or 2 cans of tuna packed in olive oil (drain if using canned)
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) Nicoise olives or other black olives
  • 16 anchovy fillets
  • 30 ml (2 tablespoons) small capers
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 large heads of Boston, washed and leaves left whole (or other lettuce such as mache, watercress or romaine)
Tuna steaks:
  • Generously salt and pepper steaks. Heat a pan on medium high and sear tuna steaks 90 seconds on each side. Remove and let cool. Slice thinly.
  • Cover a large platter with an even layer of lettuce. Lay all the ingredients, (except capers and green onions) over top the lettuce side by side or in some other visually pleasing arrangement. Sprinkle with capers and green onions. Serve vinaigrette alongside.

1 comment:

  1. That looks delicious! Perfect for summer :)


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