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Salade Nicoise

Ingredients commonly used in niçoise-style cooking are juicy tomatoes, pungent olives, garlic, fresh herbs and, most important, fish, especially anchovies. A dish incorporating these ingredients is often referred to as à la niçoise ("as prepared in Nice"). This salad, which also includes tuna, hard-cooked eggs, green beans, bell peppers and red onions, is a classic example of niçoise-style cooking.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb. fresh ahi or albacore tuna, cut into
      1-inch chunks
  • 3 cups extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 fresh rosemary sprig
  • 1 fresh thyme sprig
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 lb. haricots verts or green beans, trimmed,
      blanched and cooled in ice water
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded, deribbed and
      julienned
  • 1/2 cup niçoise olives, pitted
  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 medium potatoes, boiled and quartered
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 bunches arugula, picked over
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 10 anchovy fillets
  • 4 hard-cooked eggs, halved or quartered

Directions:

In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the tuna with the extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, bay leaf, rosemary and thyme. Simmer until the tuna is cooked through, 7 to 9 minutes. Transfer the tuna to a small bowl and shred. Cover the tuna with a little of the cooking oil, and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Let the tuna stand at room temperature for a few minutes before serving.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the haricots verts, bell pepper, olives, tomatoes, potatoes, red onion, arugula, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and toss to mix. Transfer the salad to a platter. Using a slotted spoon, remove the tuna from the oil and arrange over the salad. Garnish with the anchovy fillets and eggs. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Pastis, New York City.