Nicoise Salad - ? & ☺♥

Nicoise Salad

Janet and I have been talking about a variety of foods I have eaten either in California or in various places in Europe. One salad item that we have not made is the Nicoise Salad, so I got the following recipe from the Internet.

I will make it and likely modify it and report back to you with the results. And I already know the results will be great.

Note that the text below, excepting parenthesized comments from me, is not mine.

Salad Niçoise (pronounced nee-suaz) is essentially a French composed salad, much like our American Cobb Salad, but with tuna, green beans, and potatoes, instead of chicken, bacon, and avocado. Salad Niçoise hails from Nice, on the Mediterranean Sea, though like so many foods we enjoy here of French origin, it has changed a bit to adapt to our tastes.

According to the Wikipedia® the Niçoise salads are always made with raw vegetables and served with anchovies. Nicoise salads that are served in America are typically served on a bed of lettuce and include cooked green beans and potatoes. According to our Paris Insider, the Niçoise salads there are all made with canned tuna. Depending on the establishment here, I've had them either with canned or with freshly grilled tuna.

Like its American Cobb salad cousin, the Salad Nicoise takes some time to prepare, given all of the ingredients. This is one dish where setting up your kitchen (all ingredients chopped and ready to go) will help the salad come together smoothly. (And that is how I typically do all my cooking!)

Ingredients:

Vinaigrette:


1/2 cup of lemon juice
3/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium shallot, minced
1 tbsp. of minced fresh thyme leaves
2 tbsp. of minced fresh basil leaves
2 teaspoons of minced fresh oregano leaves
1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Salad:

2 grilled or otherwise cooked tuna steaks* (8 oz each) or 2-3 cans of tuna
6 hard boiled eggs, peeled and either halved or quartered
10 small new red potatoes (each about 2 inches in diameter, about 1 1/4 pounds total), each potato scrubbed and quartered
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 medium heads of Boston lettuce or butter lettuce, leaves washed, dried, and torn into bite-sized pieces
3 small ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into eighths
1 small red onion, sliced very thin
8 ounces of green beans, stem ends trimmed and each bean halved crosswise
1/4 cup of niçoise olives
2 Tbsp. of capers, rinsed and/or several anchovies (optional)

Directions:

*Marinate the tuna steaks in a little olive oil for an hour. Heat a large skillet on medium high heat, or place on a hot grill. Cook the steaks 2 to 3 minutes on each side until cooked through (Are they crazy?! Use Ahi and cook them in a hot skillet until seared but rare, maybe one minute per side!).

Make the dressing: Whisk lemon juice, oil, shallot, thyme, basil, oregano, and mustard in a medium size bowl; season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.

Make the salad: Bring the potatoes and 4 quarts of cold water to a boil in a large pot. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and cook until the potatoes are tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer the potatoes to a medium bowl with a slotted spoon (do not discard the boiling water). Toss the warm potatoes with 1/4 cup vinaigrette; set aside.

Build the salad: While the potatoes are cooking, toss the lettuce with 1/4 cup of vinaigrette in a large bowl until coated. Arrange a bed of lettuce on a serving platter (I used two serving platters, shown in the photos). Cut the tuna into 1/2-inch thick (or thinner) slices, coat with the vinaigrette. Mound the tuna in the center of the lettuce. Toss the tomatoes, red onion, 3 tablespoons vinaigrette, and then salt and pepper to taste in the bowl; arrange the tomato-onion mixture on the lettuce bed. Arrange the reserved potatoes in a mound at the edge of the lettuce bed.

Return the water to boil; add 1 tablespoon of salt and the green beans. Cook until tender but crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain the beans, transfer them to the reserved ice water, and let them stand until just cool, about 30 seconds; dry the beans well. Toss the beans, 3 tablespoons vinaigrette, and salt and pepper to taste; arrange in a mound at the edge of lettuce bed.

Arrange the hard boiled eggs, olives, and anchovies (if using) in mounds on the lettuce bed. Drizzle the eggs with the remaining 2 tablespoons of dressing, sprinkle the entire salad with capers (if using), and serve it immediately.