Salade Nicoise is one of the traditional French salads, composed rather than tossed, and featuring fresh vegetables, tiny salty black olives, and tuna.
If you travel to France, chances are you will have the opportunity to eat in a restaurant or cafe. I hope so! Some of the best meals I ever ate were in France.
After a few French menu readings, you’ll see a theme. Often the same recipes appear throughout the country, perhaps with a few local tweaks. The French have their every day classics just as we do. Ours may be the patty melt, meatloaf, mac and cheese, or spaghetti and meatballs. Theirs may be the Quiche, Roast Chicken, or the Croque Monsieur.
Or the Salade Nicoise.
A little background for you, a dish prepared a la Nicoise, means it’s made the way they do it in Nice. Typically, this includes tomatoes, black olives, garlic, and anchovies. A salade nicoise has these elements as well as green beans, onions, tuna, hardcooked egg, and herbs.
I’ve done my best to recreate it here in a way that suits the American palate and grocery bill. The garlic is the seasoning to the green beans. The herbs are mixed in the dressing. The olives are Kalamata instead of true Nicoise because they are easier to find here. And I left out the anchovy and onion because 1. anchovy is fairly foreign to most Americans and can be expensive, and 2. I forgot to put the onion on before I photographed the picture. Oops!
I’ve also taken the liberty of adding cooked red potato because that’s how I was served it in France one day years ago when I dined out with my friend Lucile. She told me that some put rice in the salad instead of potato and that it’s a small bone of contention.
While I wish I were eating this in Collioure or Paris, I’m pretending at home with my own delicious Salade Nicoise. And now you can, too.
Salade Nicoise Recipe
- 1 lb red potatoes
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cup green beans
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder (or fresh chopped garlic if you prefer)
- 1 6-ounce package baby greens
- 1 batch Dijon vinaigrette
- 1 14-ounce can albacore tuna drained
- 2 tomato chopped
- 4 eggs (hard-cooked) peeled and halved
- 1/2 cup Kalamata olives or other black olives
- 1 red onion sliced
- Cook the potatoes until fork tender. I cooked mine in the microwave because it’s hot and who wants to heat the oven? Feel free to bake them in the oven or steam them in a pan. Once cooked, set aside to cool slightly.
- Heat the oil in a skillet until shimmering. Add the green beans and season them with the garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Cook, tossing, until the beans are tender.
- In a large salad bowl, toss together the greens and enough of the dressing to coat. Divide this among four dinner plates. Slice the potatoes. Compose the other salad ingredients atop the greens, dividing them equally between the plates: sliced potatoes, green beans, tuna, tomatoes, two egg pieces, olives, and sliced red onion. Serve the salads with additional dressing on the side.