Salad Niçoise is one of my favorite summer meals, particularly when it's steamy outside. I make it with canned or fresh grilled tuna, depending on what I have on hand. I love it either way. I didn't add anchovies to the dish above; but if you're an anchovy admirer, be sure to throw them in. Check out the bright orange "paprika" egg I did add...it's from the Blue Hill/North Plain Farm in Great Barrington where Max worked this summer. All of the Niçoise olives are nestled beneath the vegetables above. They're obviously a must in this salad. You can make all of the ingredients that require cooking in advance and serve everything at room temperature. But I do recommend adding dressing to the beans and potatoes while they're still warm so they'll absorb more of the flavor.
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/3 cup olive oil (plus extra to brush on fresh tuna, if using)
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 3 (5 oz.) cans of tuna (I like Cento or Genova) or 1 1/2 pounds fresh tuna
- 1/2 pound haricots verts or green beans, trimmed
- 1/4 pound baby new potatoes
- 1/2 small red onion, sliced thin
- 5 oz. of lettuce of your choice
- 2 large, ripe tomatoes, cut into small wedges
- 1/2 cup of Niçoise olives
- 4 hard-boiled eggs, cracked and halved
- A few anchovy fillets, if desired (which you can chop and add to the salad dressing or place on top of your prepared salad)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1. Prepare vinaigrette by combining olive oil, vinegar, garlic and Dijon (and chopped anchovies if you are adding here). Whisk well and set aside.
2. If using fresh tuna, wash, pat dry, brush with olive oil and add salt and freshly ground pepper to both sides. Heat grill on high. When hot, grill tuna for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes per side. Set aside.
3. When water is boiling, add haricots verts for 3-4 minutes (maybe longer for regular green beans) or until crisp tender. Remove beans with a slotted spoon (saving water for potatoes). Plunge the beans into ice water to stop the cooking process and drain. Place beans on a towel to absorb excess water. Once dry, place beans in a bowl and toss with 1 tsp. of vinaigrette.
4. Using same boiling water, add potatoes and cook for 10-15 minutes until a knife inserts easily through potatoes. Drain and set aside until cool enough to handle. Slice potatoes in half, place in a bowl, add sliced red onion and 2 tbsps. of vinaigrette. Mix well.
5. When ready to serve, place lettuce, tomatoes and olives in a large salad bowl, add remaining vinaigrette and toss well.
6. Arrange tuna, beans, potatoes and sliced eggs on a large platter.
7. To serve, place salad on individual plates and top with tuna, beans, potatoes, eggs and anchovy filets (if you choose to add here). Add freshly ground pepper and salt, if needed, and enjoy.