Salade Nicoise (Salad from the Nicoise Region) features medium-rare tuna steaks and a wonderful assortment of veggies. And the distinctly French vinaigrette is what really sets this Salade Nicoise a cut above most salads.
Salade Nicoise Recipe-
For the Vinaigrette-
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 2 tbsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tbsp. minced fresh tarragon
- finely ground sea salt and freshly ground black peppercorns
- 1/2 cup scallion infused olive oil
For the Salade Nicoise-
- 1/2 lb. very small new potatoes
- 8 large eggs
- 1/2 lb. haricots verts or French green beans, stems trimmed (use fresh if you can get them, or canned is also okay)
- 2 lb. fresh, wild-caught, sushi-quality tuna steaks
- 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- finely ground sea salt and freshly ground black peppercorns, to taste
- 1 pint teardrop or cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup nicoise olives
- 16 anchovy fillets
- 16 caperberries with stems
- 1/2 bunch fresh chives, snipped in 1/2
To make the vinaigrette-
Combine all ingredients in a mason jar. Screw the cap on the jar and shake the vinaigrette vigorously to emulsify. Set the dressing aside while preparing the salad so the flavors can marry.
For the Salade Nicoise Prep-
- Cook the potatoes, eggs, and French green beans in the same pot – it will cut down on prep time and clean up. To do this, put the potatoes in a large saucepan, add water to cover and a healthy pinch of salt; bring to a boil over medium heat. Simmer the potatoes for 12 minutes to give them a head start, and then add the eggs (still in the shells). Place a steamer basket or colander on top of the simmering water.
- Put the green beans (if using fresh) in the steamer and cover with a lid. Steam the fresh beans for 5 minutes until crisp-tender while continuing to cook the potatoes until fork tender. If using canned beans, simply add into the pot for the last 2 minutes, to heat them through.
- Drain out the water and put the potatoes, eggs, and green beans in a colander; rinse briefly under cold water. Peel the shells off the eggs and cut them in 1/2 lengthwise.
- Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Rub the tuna on all sides with olive oil, and a bit of the vinaigrette; season with a fair amount of salt and pepper. Lay the tuna in the hot pan and sear for approximately 2 minutes on each side; as the tuna cooks, the red meat will become whiter. Transfer the tuna to a cutting board and slice.
To assemble the Salade Nicoise-
- Combine the potatoes, green beans, tomatoes, olives, anchovies, capers, and chives in a large mixing bowl. Take the vinaigrette and give it another good shake to recombine. Drizzle the salad with enough vinaigrette to fully moisten and toss gently to coat; season with salt and pepper.
- The important thing about salad nicoise is that it is arranged nicely on a platter with all the elements keeping their individual integrity. Place a bed of the beans in the center of each serving platter and lay the seared tuna attractively across the top; add the other items in an attractive fashion around the outside. Drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette and serve your Salade Nicoise.
- Have a good quality French dry red wine (a Bordeaux, Cabernet, or Merlot) and/or dry white wine (Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc is good) on the table also.