I love having entree salads for dinner in spring and summer. This time, I decided to go with a classic – Salad Niçoise. While my version may be a version of the classic, it is probably not authentic. However, I did actually eat this or something close to it almost thirty years ago in France. And, the dressing is really close to the salad dressing my French exchange student taught me to make. I might even be the same, but I don’t remember her ratios. At any rate, authentic or not, it is quite delicious.
For me, a niçoise salad has potatoes, green beans, eggs, tuna, and, of course, niçoise olives. I did briefly look and some other places to check typical ingredients, but I found basically nothing consistent on the vegetables, dressings that were not what I remembered, and debates on tuna vs. anchovies. So, I decided to do my own thing vegetable wise, use the dressing I remembered, and use tuna because I like it better than anchovies. And, you can easily make this vegetarian by leaving the fish out entirely. I made the vegetarian version for my son.
This salad is actually really easy to make. It does take a bit of time because you have to boil the eggs and potatoes and steam the green beans, but it really isn’t too much time, and it is worth every minute! A Salad Niçoise is usually served as a composed salad, which means that the ingredients are arranged decoratively in sections rather than tossed together.
- 1 head butter lettuce
- 1 small bunch fresh basil
- 12 fingerling potatoes (I used the multicolored ones.), boiled just until tender and sliced
- 4 eggs, boiled and sliced
- 2 4 ounce cans good quality tuna packed in olive oil
- 12 ounces French green beans, steamed
- 8 radishes, sliced
- 40 Niçoise olives (or other oil cured black olives)
- chopped green onions for sprinkling
- capers for spinkling
- 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
- salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Arrange vegetables, eggs, and tuna decoratively on plate.
- Whisk together mustard and olive oil.
- Whisking constantly, gradually add vinegar. Continue whisking until well combined.
- Stir in salt and pepper to taste.
- Drizzle over salad.