In his blog, David Lebovitz, American food writer extraordinaire in Paris, kindly sets us straight about Salad Nicoise. According to the rules of French cuisine, our American practice of topping the salad with a crown of seared tuna, is a no-no. Canned tuna is acceptable. Canned anchovies are acceptable. But, using both is not okay. Further, according to some camps, the “classic” boiled potatoes and cooked green bean accompaniments are also forbidden. Cooked vegetables are not allowed, only raw. There are a lot of rules and a lot of debate over the rules. I’m ignoring most of them with this Nicoise-style salad.
Not surprisingly, Julie Child favored the more relaxed Escoffier approach, of which this recipe is an even more relaxed version. This is no classic Salad Nicoise. This is my Salad Nicoise hack. I try to keep my fridge and pantry stocked for this recipe for when ‘assembling’ a meal is much more attractive notion than actually cooking one. This is the salad equivalent of a Pasta Putanesca in the ‘what can I throw together at the last minute?’ category.
The individual components can be prepped in advance, increasing the convenience factor. Adding to its appeal, this salad is not only quite healthy and Paleo-friendly, but is also satisfying as a meal. The key to presenting any version of Salad Nicoise is arranging the ingredients on top of the greens, rather than tossing all ingredients together. Each person can then select what they choose from this mini salad buffet.
Beyond those controversial potatoes, roasted bell peppers and artichoke hearts also work well in this salad. While many people are hesitant about anchovies, I encourage you to try them as they are one of this salad’s defining ingredients. Chop them up, for a more subdued experience. Or, replace them with a sprinkling of capers. I think Julia would approve.
Adapted from Julia Child
Yield: 6-8 servings.
- 1 head of greens, such as Mesclun
- 8-10 ounces oil-packed Albacore tuna, drained and flaked
- 1 can flat oil-packed anchovies, drained
- 1/2 cup black olives, such as Nicoise
- 1 1/2 pounds steamed or boiled French green beans
- 1 cup small tomatoes, halved and lightly salted
- 1/2 red onion sliced thin
- 8 hard-boiled eggs, halved lengthwise
- 1/4 cup chopped flat parsley for garnish
- 2/3 to 1/2 cup Lemon Vinaigrette (or other vinaigrette)
- Lightly toss greens with the vinaigrette and place on serving dish
- Lightly toss tomatoes and green beans with vinaigrette and add to salad. If using potatoes, toss them with the vinaigrette as well.
- Arrange all other ingredients (tuna, olives, eggs, red onion) on top of the salad and drizzle additional vinaigrette on the top.
- Garnish with chopped parsley.
- Serve as a main dish or side dish.
Do you go improve with your Nicoise-style salads? If so, what do you like to add to create your signature salad? Please leave a comment below!