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Classic Salade Niçoise

Although it has many versions, the classic salad of Nice, France, typically includes haricots verts—slender, young green beans—along with boiled potatoes, hard-cooked eggs and lettuce. The most authentic version calls for canned olive oil-packed tuna, rather than fresh or water-packed tuna, and niçoise olives.

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 lb. haricots verts, stem ends trimmed
  • 1 lb. new potatoes
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 1 head butter lettuce, leaves separated
  • 1 can (7 oz.) tuna, preferably Italian olive oil-packed
  • 12 anchovy fillets
  • 1/3 cup niçoise olives
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Directions:

Place the eggs in a saucepan just large enough to hold them. Add cold water to cover by 1 inch and bring just to a boil over high heat. Remove the pan from the heat, cover and let stand for 15 minutes. Have ready a bowl of ice water. Drain the eggs, then transfer to the ice water and let cool.

Meanwhile, bring another saucepan of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the haricots verts and cook until tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a strainer, scoop out the beans and transfer them to a colander. Rinse under cold running water. Add the potatoes to the boiling water and cook until tender, 5 to 10 minutes depending on size. Drain and rinse under cold running water until cool enough to handle. Cut the potatoes into halves or quarters.

Cut the tomatoes into quarters. Peel the hard-cooked eggs and cut in half lengthwise. Arrange the lettuce leaves on a large platter. Make small mounds of the haricots verts, potatoes, tomatoes, tuna and egg halves on and around the lettuce. Scatter the anchovies and olives over the potatoes.

Drizzle the salad with the olive oil and vinegar. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper and serve immediately. Serves 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Salad of the Day, by Georgeanne Brennan (Weldon Owen, 2012).