Salade Niçoise | April 27, 2017

I like a salad as much as the next girl which is to say, I really wish doughnuts and salad were interchangeable on the caloric scale.  It is hard to get too excited about lettuce in general.  That being said, when I discovered Salade niçoise a number of years ago, I thought, “Now that’s a salad I can get behind!”

Originally from Provence, this salad is found easily in bistros and brasseries all over France.  It is easy to put together and makes a great luncheon or dinner salad.  There are traditional ingredients that are found in almost any Salade niçoise like potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, green beans, and tuna or even better anchovies. The modern Salade niçoise also can include beets, asparagus, or almost anything else you want to include.  I make this for company or when I have multiple leftover vegetables in my refrigerator.  This is definitely not a side salad – it is the star.

My favorite thing about Salade niçoise is the variety of ingredients. Also, the components of the salad can be served at different temperatures.  The roasted potatoes are on the warmer side, the eggs are chilled, and the dressing is at room temperature so your mouth has lots of different textures and temperatures to be excited about.   

I start by roasted the potatoes and whatever green vegetable I am using.  Today I am using trimmed green beans.  While they are roasting in the oven, I hard-boil the eggs.  I usually gauge one egg per person.  Once the eggs are resting, I cut cherry tomatoes, etc.  I have some leftover cooked beets so I will be adding them as well.

Now to make the dressing this is my favorite salad dressing of all time.  I make it all the time and put it on everything!  In a small jar (with a sealing lid), add a minced garlic clove, lemon juice, Dijon mustard (the spicier the better for me), a shallot, as well as a little salt and pepper.  Then add the olive oil and shake, shake, shake!  The reason I combine it in a small jar is that I can shake it and if there is any dressing that I don’t use, I can just put the lid on and keep it in the refrigerator.

Once all the components are roasted, chopped, and hard-boiled, I start building my Salade niçoise.  This salad makes a stunning presentation, so I suggest using a big platter instead of individual plates.  First, toss the greens with about 1/3 of the dressing so that they are really lightly dressed.  This helps all the greens to have at least a little dressing on them.  Then I add the sliced hard-boiled eggs down the sides and the roasted potatoes at each end.  I try to arrange all the vegetables around the outside of the plate so that they are all easily accessible.  When all the components are added you can place the tuna fish down the middle of the platter. 

All tuna is not created equal and what is available nowadays in the grocery store is pretty amazing.  If I am making this for company, I buy the good tuna in a jar.  It is pricey but totally worth it and since this is the main protein in the meal, it makes sense to spend a little more.  Frankly, once you have the better tuna it is hard to go back.  If fish is really not your thing, you can substitute sliced steak or chicken.  It is not a Salade niçoise anymore but it will still be a great meal.  Bon appétit!

NISCOISE SALAD

SERVES 4-6   |  PREP TIME  45 minutes  |  PRINT PDF

INGREDIENTS
For the Dressing
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1⁄3 cup olive oil
For the Salad
  • 2 Bags of mixed greens, rinsed and dried
  • 1 lb. small new potatoes, roasted on a Tovolo Silicone Veggie Roasting Mat
  • 6 oz. baby beets, boiled until tender, peeled
  • 8 oz. green beans (or asparagus), trimmed, roasted on a Tovolo Silicone Veggie Roasting Mat
  • 12 oz. cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1⁄2 cup black Niçoise olives, pitted if possible
  • 8 salt-packed anchovies, rinsed and drained (optional but delicious!)
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
  • 3 (4-oz.) cans high-quality oil-packed tuna, drained
  • If you feel really fancy, you can add some fresh herbs or green onion on top.
DIRECTIONS

The Dressing
Mince garlic on a cutting board and sprinkle heavily with salt; using a knife, scrape garlic and salt together to form a smooth paste. Transfer paste to a bowl and add juice, mustard, shallot, salt and pepper and then oil. Shake to combine; set aside.
The Salad
Arrange all ingredients in separate rows on a large serving platter; drizzle dressing over all ingredients and season with salt and pepper.