Provence, France brings us this wonderful salad, packed with an entire rainbow of veggies and protein! It nourishes not only the body, but also the soul. There is much debate on what makes an authentic Niçoise and very little consensus about what’s supposed to be in it.
For example, some argue that an authentic Niçoise should never include cooked vegetables, others pronounce that no dressing should be used, only olive oil or that anchovies trump tuna. Others believe that the Niçoise is a salad that reflects the seasons sometimes including artichokes, fava beans or bell peppers, but always featuring, tomatoes, wild greens, white onions, and anchovies.
As a home cook the murkiness surrounding what makes an authentic Niçoise is great news because it means we can do whatever the heck we want! If you want to add capers to your Niçoise, go for it. In the mood for a little bell pepper? Sure thing. Scallions? Shallots? Herbs like basil and tarragon? Um, yeah!
Here is MY version of a perfect Salad Niçoise
French Vinaigrette: (Makes about 1 cup) Whisk together the following:
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp white vinegar
2 tbsp Apple cider vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, smashed
1/2 tsp grated, fresh lemon peel
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the salad:
1 pound fingerling potatoes
8 ounces green beans or haricot verts
3 4.5-ounce cans tuna packed in olive oil, drained
4 large hard-boiled eggs, sliced
2 medium ripe tomatoes, quartered
Pitted Kalamata or black olives
3 cups salad greens
Preparation: Place potatoes in a large stockpot and cover with a few inches of water. Add a generous amount of salt and bring to a boil. Cook until potatoes are tender and can easily be pierced with knife, about 10 minutes. Remove the potatoes with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool. Once cool, slice thinly.
Return the water to a boil and add the green beans. Cook until bright green and crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove beans with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Spread lettuce onto a serving platter. Arrange potatoes, green beans, eggs, tomatoes, tuna, and olives over lettuce. Serve with remaining dressing on the side.