If you like tuna, green beans, potatoes, olives, hard boiled eggs and other fixings with a tasty vinaigrette dressing, then this salad recipe, which eats as a meal, will become one of your favorites. It’s great to serve year round, just substitute cherry or grape tomatoes when you don’t have garden fresh ones. Also, if you’re not a fan of anchovies or capers (and I know many who are not), just omit them. You’ll still have a great salad!
Most of the Niçoise (pronounced “nee-swaz”) salads I’ve eaten have been “composed,” with all of the ingredients in separate little batches on a salad plate. While this type of presentation may look artsy, somehow I feel that something is lacking when the ingredients aren’t tossed to take full advantage of how the flavors of this salad blend so well together. Plus it’s just easier to eat.
I’ve had Niçoise salads with fresh tuna cooked perfectly rare or with canned tuna, and honestly like both. For this recipe, I use jarred tuna filets with garlic in olive oil, which pack more taste than the canned variety, and is not as expensive as fresh. It’s your call.
Chill your salad bowls before serving for an extra special touch.
Vinaigrette Dressing Ingredients
- 1/8 cup red-wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon minced shallot
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 large garlic clove, minced and mashed to a paste with ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ½ pound green beans
- 1 pound fingerling potatoes (red potatoes work well, too)
- 1 head bib lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
- 6.7 ounces jarred or canned tuna, packed in oil, drained, and broken into small pieces
- 1 large tomato, cut into bit-sized pieces
- ½ cup Niçoise or other small brine-cured black olives
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- ¼ cup drained capers (optional)
- 1 ounce anchovy fillets, cut into small pieces (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste (go easy on the salt if you include the anchovies)
- 2-3 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
Prepare the vinaigrette by whisking together vinegar, shallot, mustard, sugar, and garlic paste in a small bowl until mixed well.
Slowly add the oil, whisking until emulsified. Whisk in oregano, basil, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Boil green beans in a 4- to 6-quart pot of salted water, until crisp-tender (3 minutes.)Remove them from the pot with a slotted spoon and place in an ice bath to stop cooking. Once cool, drain in a colander, pat dry, trim, and cut into bite-sized pieces.
Add potatoes to boiling green-bean water and cook until fork-tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain potatoes and while they are still warm, peel and cut them into small pieces. Place them in a bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon of the dressing. Let cool.
Combine all of the salad ingredients except for the eggs in a large bowl. The lettuce is hiding at the bottom, but you can see some of peeking out.
Drizzle about half of the vinaigrette on top of the salad and gently toss until each ingredient is lightly coated in the dressing. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Save the rest of the dressing to serve on the side as desired.
Top the salad with the sliced eggs (it helps them not to fall apart if you don’t toss them with the rest of the ingredients.)
Serve with some crusty French bread and a nice glass of white wine.