Nicoise Salad

What is Niçoise Salad?

Salad Niçoise, which is pronounced nee-suahz, is essentially a French composed salad, very similar to the Cobb salad that we have in the United States, except instead of chicken, bacon, and avocado, it consists of tuna, green beans, and potatoes.

Nice, which is located on the Mediterranean Sea, is the birthplace of salad Niçoise; yet, similar to the majority of French dishes that we enjoy in this region, it has been modified to accommodate our preferences.

The Niçoise salads that are served in the United States of America are often served on a bed of lettuce and include green beans and potatoes that have been carefully prepared. Our insider in Paris claims that all of the Niçoise salads at that establishment are prepared with tuna that has been canned.

Canned or Fresh Tuna?

You can get them with tuna that has been tinned or with tuna that has been freshly grilled, depending on the place that you go to here. The preparation of the salad Niçoise, which is similar to its American cousin the Cobb salad, requires some time due to the large number of ingredients.

For this particular recipe, ensuring that all of the ingredients are chopped and ready to go will be of great assistance in ensuring that the salad is able to come together without any hiccups.

Prepping Niçoise Salad in Advance

Assemble the entire salad just before serving, but feel free to prep these ingredients a day ahead of time. Bring refrigerated ingredients to room temperature first.

  • Make the vinaigrette (as directed in Step 1) a day ahead and refrigerate.
  • Marinate the onions (as directed in Step 2) a day ahead and refrigerate.
  • Hard boil the eggs (as directed in Step 2) a day ahead and refrigerate. Peel and slice just before serving.
  • Cook the potatoes (as directed in Step 3) a day ahead. Do not cut or dress until right before serving. Tightly cover and refrigerate.
  • Cook the green beans (as directed in Step 4) a day ahead of time. Tightly cover and refrigerate.
  • Tear the lettuce and core and cut the tomatoes. Tightly cover and refrigerate.

Buying Canned Tuna Salad Niçoise

Use quality canned albacore in oil tuna for Salad Niçoise. Get solid tuna; we don’t recommend chunk light for this recipe.

Freshly cooked tuna steaks are not traditional in this salad, but if you love a good seared tuna steak, go for it!

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Nicoise Salad

PREP TIME30 mins
COOK TIME25 mins
TOTAL TIME55 mins
SERVINGS6 servings

If you’re cooking tuna steaks for this salad, marinate them in a little olive oil for an hour. Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat, or place on a hot grill. Cook the steaks 2 to 3 minutes on each side until cooked through.

If you can’t Niçoise olives at the store, substitute Kalamata olives, which are easier to find.

Adapted from Cooks Illustrated, America’s Test Kitchen.

Ingredients

Vinaigrette

  • 1/3 cup lemon juice or red wine vinegar
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano or tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Salad

  • 2 to 3 (5-ounce) cans tuna, drained, or 2 (8-ounce) grilled or otherwise cooked tuna steaks (see recipe note for cooking instructions)
  • 6 hard boiled eggs, peeled and quartered lengthwise
  • 1 1/4 pounds small young red potatoes or fingerling potatoes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 medium heads Boston or butter lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 small ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into wedges
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup Niçoise olives
  • 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and/or several anchovies, optional

Method

  1. Make the vinaigrette:

    In a jar, place the oil, lemon juice or vinegar, shallots, herbs, and mustard. Cover with a lid and shake until well blended. Add salt and pepper to taste.

    A jar of dressing for tuna nicoise.
  2. Marinate the onion slices in some of the vinaigrette:

    Place onion slices in a small bowl and sprinkle with 3 tablespoons of the vinaigrette. (The onions soaking in the vinaigrette will help take some of the bite out of them.)

    Sliced red onions to make a tuna nicoise.
  3. Cook the potatoes, cut, and dress with vinaigrette:

    Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with 2 inches of water. Add 1 tablespoon of salt. Heat on high to bring to a boil. Lower the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes or so, until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain.

    While the potatoes are still warm, cut them into halves or quarters, depending on the size of the potatoes.

    Place them in a bowl and dress them with about 1/4 cup of the vinaigrette.

    Boiling red potatoes to make a tuna nicoise.
    Adding viniagrette to a bowl of halved red potatoes for a nicoise salad recipe.
  4. Boil the green beans:

    While the potatoes are cooking, fill a medium sized pot halfway with water, and add 2 teaspoons of salt. Bring to a boil on high heat. Add the green beans to the boiling water.

    Cook until tender but still firm to the bite, about 3 to 5 minutes (more or less, depending on the toughness of the beans).

    Drain and either rinse with cold water to stop the cooking, or shock for half a minute in ice water.

    Blanching green beans to make a nicoise salad recipe.
  5. Arrange the salad on a bed of lettuce:

    Arrange a bed of lettuce on a serving platter. If using tuna steaks, cut them into 1/2-inch thick slices. Mound tuna in the center of lettuce. Sprinkle the tomatoes and onions around the tuna.

    Arrange the potatoes and green beans in mounds at the edge of the lettuce.

    Arrange hard boiled eggs, olives, and anchovies (if using) in mounds on the lettuce bed.

    Chopping tuna on a cutting board to make a nicoise salad recipe.
    Overhead view of a platter of nicoise salad.
  6. Drizzle everything with the remaining vinaigrette:

    Sprinkle with capers if using.

    Serve immediately. Should be served slightly warm or at room temperature.

FAQ

What is Nicoise Salad?

Nicoise Salad is a traditional French salad originating from the city of Nice in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region of France. It is a composed salad typically made with a variety of ingredients including boiled potatoes, green beans, cherry tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, canned tuna, olives, and anchovies, all arranged on a bed of lettuce. Nicoise Salad is known for its vibrant colors and flavors, as well as its hearty and satisfying nature.

How do I make Nicoise Salad?

To make Nicoise Salad, start by boiling potatoes until tender and blanching green beans until crisp-tender. Hard-boil eggs until they are cooked to your desired level of firmness. Assemble a bed of lettuce on a serving platter or individual plates. Arrange the cooked potatoes, green beans, halved cherry tomatoes, sliced hard-boiled eggs, canned tuna, olives, and anchovies on top of the lettuce. Optionally, you can add other ingredients such as capers or red onion slices. Finish the salad by drizzling it with a vinaigrette made from olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, and herbs such as parsley or tarragon.

What ingredients are needed for Nicoise Salad?

The main ingredients for Nicoise Salad include:

    • Lettuce (such as butter lettuce or mixed greens)
    • Boiled potatoes
    • Green beans (haricots verts)
    • Cherry tomatoes
    • Hard-boiled eggs
    • Canned tuna (preferably packed in olive oil)
    • Olives (such as Kalamata or Nicoise)
    • Anchovy fillets For the vinaigrette:
    • Olive oil
    • Red wine vinegar
    • Dijon mustard
    • Salt and pepper
    • Herbs (such as parsley, tarragon, or chives)

Can I customize Nicoise Salad?

Yes, Nicoise Salad is highly customizable based on personal preferences and dietary restrictions. You can adjust the quantities of ingredients or omit certain components to suit your taste. For example, you can add artichoke hearts, roasted bell peppers, or cucumber slices to the salad. Additionally, you can substitute grilled or seared tuna steaks for canned tuna for a fresher flavor. Feel free to customize the vinaigrette by adding ingredients like minced garlic or shallots for extra flavor.

Is Nicoise Salad suitable for meal prep?

Nicoise Salad can be partially prepared ahead of time for meal prep. You can cook and store the potatoes, green beans, and hard-boiled eggs in the refrigerator separately. When ready to serve, simply assemble the salad components on a platter or individual plates, prepare the vinaigrette, and drizzle it over the salad just before serving. This makes Nicoise Salad a convenient option for quick and healthy meals during the week.

 

 

 

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