Salade Niçoise

nicoise salade
When I was a kid, my mom took me on trips to San Francisco to see matinee performances of plays, ballets, or the symphony. We would always have lunch at The Plum, which was the restaurant in the basement of the now-defunct Liberty House department store. They had white table cloths and the menu was in French. I always ordered this salad, because I loved anchovies. (Yup. I was a weirdy.)

Today I see this salad increasingly interpreted by chefs. Grilled or seared tuna is all well and good, but in my book a real Salade Niçoise must have canned tuna. I’m a traditionalist. (Or a curmudgeon…)

Technically, to make it “Niçoise” it must contain ingredients that are indigenous to the Mediterranean region and readily available in Nice, France (hence the name). One bite and you can taste the sun along the Côte d’Azure.

INGREDIENTS

1/2 lb. red new potatoes
1/2 lb. green beans or haricot vert, trimmed
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 TB. red wine vinegar
1 TB. lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
4 cups mixed salad greens, washed and dried
1 ripe tomato, cut into wedges
2 hard boiled eggs, quartered
1 (6 oz.) can tuna, drained
12 anchovy filets
[1/2] cup black niçoise olives, pitted

METHOD

  1. Cover potatoes with cold water and bring to a boil over high heat. At the boil, turn the heat down to medium, and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain potatoes and submerge in a bowl of ice water until cool. Cut cooled potatoes into quarters, leaving the skin on.
  2.  Bring a second medium sized pot of water to a rolling boil. Drop the green beans in band boil for 3 minutes, until they turn bright green, and are just tender. Drain and immediately submerge in an ice bath.
  3.  In a small bowl combine the oil, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic and parsley. Mix well then add the potato and green beans, toss to coat evenly, then set aside.
  4.  Divide the salad greens evenly between each of the four plates. For each salad divide evenly the tomato, eggs, tuna, potato, green beans, and olives, and arrange in sections on top of the lettuce. Drizzle remaining dressing on top and garnish each salad with three anchovy filets. Serve immediately.

 

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