Salade Niçoise is a summer lunch classic. Tuna, egg, French beans, and potatoes with salad, anchovies and a vinaigrette dressing. Just arrange it beautifully – more or less – and tuck in.
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There are plenty of definitive versions of Salade Niçoise and I have no desire to add to them. This is the recipe that I like to use, but do tweak it to suit yourself.
The first thing you need to make is a vinaigrette dressing. You can buy it, of course, but it’s only oil and vinegar shaken up together with some seasoning, so why would you?
Of course, it isn’t any old oil and vinegar and the taste will vary according to what you use – just like mayonnaise really. Wine vinegar is what you need here (I use white, but some prefer red) and, preferably, olive oil. As I know I’ve said before, quality will out, but it’s also true that in a vinaigrette there is a higher proportion of vinegar to oil than in mayonnaise so the quality of oil is less of an issue.
I often only add salt and pepper to the dressing, but you can also add mustard powder, crushed garlic, and/or any herbs that you like.
What goes into Salade Niçoise?
You may well ask. And to a certain extent, I use what I have, but I do keep most, if not all, of these ingredients in my store cupboard or freezer and then I add whatever salad I have.
- Tuna – well, you could buy it from the fishmonger and cook it, but I prefer a can or a jar.
- Anchovies – maybe you think you’ll leave them out? If you aren’t that keen, slice them lengthwise into very thin strips and try them out
- Boiled eggs – there’s not much to say about them really unless you don’t like them
- French beans – fresh or frozen, it doesn’t make a lot of difference. The only thing to note is: don’t overcook them. Slightly crunchy is what you’re aiming for
- Potatoes – new, definitely. Those little salad ones are good, but you’ll have to cut them up anyway. Skins on or off depends on you and the potatoes
- Olives – I like black and I take the stones out. The choice is yours
- Lettuce – I’m not very keen on Iceberg, so I use Little Gem hearts
- Tomatoes – the best flavour you can find. It doesn’t really matter if they’re large or small, but I generally have cherry tomatoes in, so that’s what I use
- Spring onions – I prefer these to ordinary onions as I don’t like a strong onion flavour. If you do, or you don’t have spring onions, use red or white onions as you please
- Other ingredients – you could use cucumber, peppers, celery, any salad you want it seems. Just make it and enjoy it – preferably outside in the sunshine
- Olive pitter – If your olives have stones and you want to remove them without too much trouble, get a gadget like this – it also works for cherries without squashing the fruit
- 5-bladed herb cutting scissors – these make chopping herbs easy. Just snip them. No actual chopping to do. No squashed herbs. I love them.
Salade Niçoise is a summer lunch classic. Tuna, egg, French beans, and potatoes with salad, anchovies and a vinaigrette dressing.
You will need:
- A large salad bowl – not too deep
For the vinaigrette dressing:
- 75ml olive oil
- 15ml white wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5ml) salt
- ground black pepper
For the Salade Niçoise:
- 2 eggs
- 350g new potatoes
- 125g French beans
- 2 Little Gem hearts
- 250g cherry tomatoes
- 50g black olives
- Fresh parsley
- 2 spring onions
- 2 x 160g tins tuna
- 50g tin anchovies
- Hard boil the eggs in your usual way OR
- Put the eggs in a small saucepan and cover with cold water
- Bring to the boil over a HIGH heat
- When boiling, put the lid on the pan and switch off the heat, but leave the pan on the ring for 10 minutes
- After 10 minutes, put the eggs into a bowl of cold water and leave for a further 10 minutes
- Boil or steam the potatoes for about 15 minutes until tender
- Trim the beans, cut in half and steam for 5-10 minutes until just tender
- Wash and dry the salad vegetables as necessary
- De-stone the olives if necessary
- Chop the parsley
For the Salade Niçoise:
- Make the vinaigrette dressing:
- Put all the ingredients in a screw-top bottle and shake vigorously
- Shake before use every time
- Trim the spring onions and cut into 1/4-1/2 cm rounds
- Take the shells off the eggs and cut each one lengthwise into 8 pieces
- Cut the potatoes into similar size pieces
- Halve the tomatoes
- Drain the tuna and break up slightly with a fork
- Drain the anchovies and cut lengthwise into thin strips
- Arrange the lettuce leaves in the base of the salad bowl and sprinkle a little vinaigrette over them
- Arrange the onions, potatoes, and beans and cover with more dressing
- Top that with the eggs, tuna, and tomatoes and dressing
- Finally, arrange the anchovies on the top and dot the olives around
- Sprinkle with parsley and more dressing (note that you might not need all the dressing)
- Serve as soon as possible.