Salade Niçoise is still somewhat of a mystery to folks who don’t live in the South of France. But it’s an easy salad to make if you have access to all of the ingredients, and of course, the recipe can be fumbled for those who can’t find all of the ingredients, or would rather skip a few.
The word Niçoise means of Nice, or as prepared in Nice and typically describes any cuisine found specifically in or around Nice. Dishes from this region usually include the basic ingredients of tomatoes, niçoise olives, garlic and anchovies.
Salade Niçoise usually includes these ingredients plus haricots verts (French Green Beans), hardboiled eggs, tuna (from a can), onions, and herbs from the South of France. The idea of using a tuna steak, or fresh seared tuna, rather than canned is considered to be a major faux-pas in making a Salade Niçoise. This salad is considered to be a full main course, rather than a small side salad. I also tend to serve this salad at about room temperature, meaning I don’t make a point of chilling it or the ingredients before serving.
Note: French Green Beans can be found in The States in the frozen section of Trader Joe’s, or look in your produce section at the grocery store.
My Take On A Niçoise Salad
Chopped Romaine lettuce – Julia Child’s recipe calls for Butter lettuce.
Hard boil an egg or two sliced in quarters, or eighths.
Steam some French green beans (Haricots Verts).
A number of Niçoise olives.
Quarter or eighth one or two Roma tomatoes.
A few boiled new potatoes – Red or Yukon small creamers, or finger potatoes, whichever is available – cut in half or quartered (depending on size). If you don’t have creamer potatoes, then skip because this is definitely not a place for a potato like a Russet.
I tend to use approximately equal portions of each ingredient.
Plus a spoonful or two of Capers.
Hefty helping of freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
Dressing: proportion or use ingredients to taste:
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
Red Wine Vinegar
Fresh Garlic, crushed and chopped.
A squirt of fresh Lemon
A little of the freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Boil potatoes so they are just done.
Hard boil the egg/s
Steam the green beans, leaving them just slightly crunchy.
Chop the tomatoes.
Whisk the Vinaigrette.
In a bowl toss the tomatoes and the slightly warm potatoes into the Vinaigrette. Let this sit while preparing the rest of the salad.
Lay out a bed of Romaine lettuce (or Butter lettuce).
Spread out the olives, capers, and green beans.
Place the eggs around the edge of the salad.
Spread out the vinaigrette, tomatoes and potatoes over the other ingredients.
Open and drain the can of tuna. I like to rinse the tuna as well. Break it up into flakes and small chunks and then sprinkle over the top of the salad.
This is not a tossed salad. You can make this as one big salad for the dinner or buffet table or as small individual salads for each person at the meal. The salad will get tossed on the individual plate.
Chopped scallions (green or spring onions) can also be added.
You may have noticed that there is no mention of anchovies. I don’t use them in this recipe although they are part of a traditional Niçoise Salad. If you like, they can be chopped and added to the salad.
That should be it!