Niçoise salad - a little piece of France
When making my delicious and easy Niçoise salad, you invite a little bit of France to your home. As the name suggests, the salad originates in the southern French city of Nice (that’s actually pronounced like ‘niece’, not like ‘nice’), located on the Mediterranean coast and right ‘next door’ to Monaco.
My Niçoise salad recipe is a summer favourite among my friends, who have since been converted from using canned tuna to serving it with seared tuna steak (and now won’t stop raving about it ;) ). And I promise, this flavourful and quick dish will have *your* taste buds sing French chansons, too.
The original recipe calls for potatoes, tomatoes, hard boiled eggs, lettuce, anchovies, black olives, green beans, onion and, of course, tuna.
Sticking to a tried and tested recipe is good - adapting it to match your personal tastes can be even better. Here are some particularities about my take on the world-renowned classic dish:
Tuna: fresh is always best, am I right? By all means, use the canned variety if you must, but if you can get hold of fresh tuna (ideally sushi grade, so you can enjoy it lightly seared to rare/medium-rare), it’s worth splurging on it.
Black Olives: the recipe calls for them, but these calls fall on deaf ears with me. I don’t like black olives, simple as that. However, if you are a fan, feel free to add them to your salad and feel all the more French for it ;)
Boiled eggs: I found that using soft boiled eggs with a still runny yolk makes a huge difference. That golden creaminess, dusted in some freshly crushed black pepper, is such a mouth-watering addition to the whole dish that I cannot fathom why you would prefer flaky hard boiled yolk instead.
Onions: because I struggle digesting raw onions, I use pickled onions instead. Plus, they give that additional layer of sweet-and-sour to the dish and make it a real explosion of summery freshness. If you don’t already pickle your own onions, be sure to check out my ‘super easy pickled onions in 15 minutes’ recipe.
C'est bon, n'est-ce pas? Isn't this recipe just delicious? Let me know in the comments below if you tried it, and especially what your take on pan seared tuna vs. canned tuna is.
Niçoise salad with seared tuna
Take your tastebuds on a journey to the French mediterranean with this quick and easy salad recipe that will soon become your summertime favourite.
Fact SheetCategory: Entree Cuisine: Dairy free Gluten free Vegetarian Main Dishes European under 1 hour French Salads Cooking Method: cooking and frying Diet: Gluten Free Vegetarian Preparation Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 45 minutes Servings: 4
- 4 tuna steaks (approx. 150g each) or 2 cans of tuna in brine or oil
- 8 medium potatoes (leave the skin on if new potatoes, peel if using thicker skinned varieties)
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups cherry tomatos
- 2 baby gem lettuce hearts / substitute by other greens ( I used mange tout)
- 1 cup green beans
- 1/2 onion ( prefer pickled onions for taste and digestibility - check out my super easy recipe for making quick pickled onions that will be ready and delicious by the time you have finished preparing the rest of the dish)
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 TBSP whole grain mustard or Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp black pepper corns or 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 anchovies **optional** (make sure you soak them in water if using salt-packed anchovies)
- Cut potatoes in quarters and boil (If necessary, peel them first)
- Soft-boil the eggs
- Boil or steam the green beans for 5 minutes, then chuck in ice cold water so they maintain their colour and bite
- Cut tomatoes and other greens
- Prepare the vinaigrette by crushing the garlic clove (and optional anchovies), then blending in the oil, vinegar, mustard and pepper until an emulsion is formed. Add salt and pepper if necessary (using anchovies will already give the vinaigrette a good salty taste, that will also enhance the flavour of the tuna)
- Pour the vinaigrette onto the warm ingredients, add your tomatoes and other salad, then mix.
- Carefully cut your soft boiled eggs in half and place them on top. Garnish with freshly ground black pepper and onions
- If you are using canned tuna, add it in either step 6 or step 7, depending if you want to evenly distribute it or keep it in chunks.
- Heat an iron or griddle pan over high heat with no oil. Brush your tuna steak with a neutral oil (i.e. rape seed or sunflower, don’t use olive oil as its smoke point is too low) and place it in the sizzling hot pan. Sear for about 1 minute on each side (you can easily see your desired doneness on the outside of the fish - I prefer mine rare).
- Add salt, pepper, serve alongside your salad.