(French Provençale tuna and vegetable salad)
Light, refreshing and famous the world over, salade Niçoise (nee-SWAHZ) , from the city of Nice in southern France, puts fresh garden produce and fine Mediterranean ingredients to excellent use. You can even turn a salade Niçoise into a portable meal, using it as a filling for a sandwich called pan bagnat (see variations).
As any citizen of Nice will tell you, classic salade Niçoise does not contain cooked vegetables. However, versions served outside of France very often contain cooked green beans and boiled potatoes.
4 to 6 servings
- Red wine vinegar -- 3 tablespoons
- Dijon mustard -- 2 teaspoons
- Scallions, minced -- 2
- Olive oil -- 1/2 cup
- Salt and pepper -- to season
- Tomatoes, cut into wedges, seeds removed -- 4
- Green or red pepper, seeds removed, cut into strips -- 1
- Salad greens -- 2 big handfuls
- Basil leaves -- about 12
- Tuna, drained -- 2 (12-ounce) cans
- Eggs, hard-cooked, peeled, cut into quarters -- 3
- Black Niçoise olives, pitted -- 1/2 cup
- Anchovy filets, rinsed -- 12
- In a large bowl, whisk together the red wine vinegar, mustard and minced scallion. Still whisking, slowly drizzle in the olive oil to form an emulsion. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Add the tomatoes, sliced pepper, salad greens and basil leaves to the bowl with the vinaigrette and toss well.
- Portion the greens out onto individual plates and garnish each portion neatly with some of the tuna, eggs, olives and anchovy filets.
Salade Niçoise Variations
- Tuna: A popular variation of salade Niçoise uses lightly grilled tuna steaks instead of canned tuna.
- Other Additions: Chopped artichoke hearts, peeled fava beans, chopped celery hearts and peeled, seeded and sliced cucumber are common additions to salade Niçoise. Though not traditional, boiled, peeled potatoes and cooked green beans are very common in salades Niçoise made outside of southern France.
- Pan Bagnat: A sandwich, popular in Nice, that is a portable version of the salade Niçoise. The name means "wet bread," which describes its succulent result. Use 4 individual loaves of round, crusty bread or 2 baguettes cut in half. Slice the loaves in half horizontally and remove some of the soft inner crumb. Make the vinaigrette. Cut the tomatoes, eggs and peppers into rounds instead of wedges and strips. Layer the ingredients on the bottom half of the bread. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and cover with the top half of the bread. Wrap the sandwiches in aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Let rest at room temperature for about 2 hours before serving.