Salad. The word is ripe with meanings. Could be dessert, breakfast, a hearty meal, a light spring side, could be greens and a little dressing or contain nothing green at all…might be the whole meal or just a nibble to whet your appetite. I’m a big fan of savory salads that have intention, I love a composed salad, have a sweet spot for any salad with a hit of protein, and of course…add olives to anything and I’m in!
A niçoise salad hits every mark and is easily made almost any time of year!
This recipe comes from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan. I first learned about this book via NPR and The Splendid Table with Lynn Rossetto Kasper who interviewed Dorie. However, this salad hardly needs a recipe at all (but I posted it below).
We were inspired to make a niçoise after reading a Cook’s Illustrated review of canned tuna focusing not only on taste but also on sustainability and ethics of the company. American Tuna came out on top…and when we spotted it while grocery shopping…we knew just what we would be making with it.
The tuna is worth the additional cost and the quality is outstanding.
Recipe (courtesy of Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan)
8-12 small potatoes, scrubbed
2 5 to 6 oz. cans tuna packed in oil, drained
4 tomatoes, cut into chunks or 20 grape tomatoes, halved
3/4 lb. green beans, trimmed
4 hard-boiled eggs
about 20 Niçoise olives, pitted
2 tbsps. capers, drained and patted dry
8 anchovies, rinsed and patted dry (we skipped the anchovies)
4-6 handfuls of bibb lettuce
1 shallot, finely chopped
light vinegar or lemon juice
chopped fresh parsley for garnish
salt and freshly ground pepper
Since it was just the two of us, we halved the recipe and the portions were very generous!
Start by cooking the potatoes in boiling and salted water. You’ll want to cook the potatoes whole, they will hold their shape and look crisper for the salad. Depending on the size, they should take between 10-15 minutes…and I would err on the shorter side. You can test the doneness by piercing one of the potatoes with a paring knife.
We happen to have some hard-boiled eggs on hand from earlier in the week, but if they are not a standard in your fridge…go ahead and hard boil the eggs using your preferred method and make sure they have time to cool down before peeling and quartering them. Depending on the size of tomato you use, quarter or half the tomatoes.
The green beans need only a very quick blanch in salted boiling water and a quick cool-off in some ice water. Once you have all your ingredients ready to go – it’s time to pull it all together. Mix up the dressing…a little olive oil, shallots and vinegar seasoned with salt and pepper.
Toss the lettuce with the dressing and pile high on the plate and then top with all the fixings…in whatever fashion grabs you in the moment. Open a lovely crisp bottle of white wine to cut through the oil of the tuna, olives and anchovies and the salt of the capers and olives and you’ve got dinner on the table!