The first time I had Salad Nicoise was in my final year of college; There was a little cafe that had just opened up a month ago, and it sold takeaway items made fresh daily from its deli counter. As I walked home from school I usually made it a point to pop by and see what’s available, occasionally getting a salad, pasta or sandwich to eat. One particular day, I stepped in and saw this bright green salad, filled with unfamiliar things like boiled potatoes, eggs, and green beans. It was sitting in a large salad bowl, behind the refrigerated glass display. In front of that bowl, was a label with the words “Salad Nicoise” written neatly, clipped on to a small stand.
Curious as to what it would taste like, I asked the very pleasant shop attendant for a serving of “Salad Nee-koise” to go. And in the sweetest of voices, without a hint of hesitation or judgment, she replied, “Oh one serving of “Salad Nee-sua”? No problem!” A+ for her hospitality, and A+ for my embarrassment. Upon paying, I mustered up my brightest smile to hide my fluster and rushed home for lunch.
That day, while munching on my salad, I popped open my laptop and googled “Salad Nicoise”.
According to Wikipedia, Salad Nicoise is “a salad that originated in the French city of Nice. It is traditionally made of tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, Niçoise olives, anchovies, and dressed with olive oil. It has been popular worldwide since the early 20th century, and has been prepared and discussed by many famous chefs. Delia Smith called it “one of the best combinations of salad ingredients ever invented” and Gordon Ramsay said that “it must be the finest summer salad of all.”
Salad Nicoise also seems to have many variations, with a heated debate over what is traditional. The version that I had is very close to the one I am sharing with you today – With green beans and baby/new potatoes. I have also simplified the dressing to replicate that of my Baked Salmon with Lemon Dressing to make things even simpler. Additionally, Nicoise olives are really hard to get in Singapore (I couldn’t find any in my local market), so I substituted Kalamata olives instead.
Despite all the debate, one thing is for sure – This salad is DELICIOUS! There is just something about the combination of the tart dressing, olive oil and fresh ingredients that make it extremely appetizing. Don’t let its appearance fool you; This is more than a bowl of boiled and fresh vegetables with tuna.
This salad is also pretty filling and can be considered a complete meal. It has carbs, protein, and loads of fresh vegetables! So if you haven’t tried it before, and are looking for a fresh healthy meal, I strongly encourage you to try this.
Best of all, active cooking time and cleanup is pretty short!
Light yet satisfying, this Salad Nicoise is much easier to make than you'd expect! Filled with green beans, tomatoes, potatoes, tuna, and coated in a refreshing lemon dressing.
- 1 head lettuce leaves separated
- 1 large tomato cut into wedges
- 3 small baby or new potatoes quartered
- 60 g green beans ends trimmed and halved
- 2 eggs
- 1 can tuna in oil or water drained
- 6-8 nicoise or kalamata olives chopped
- 3 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- 1/2 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp water
- salt and pepper season to taste
Place potatoes in a pot with lightly salted water, and bring to a rolling boil. In a separate bowl prepare an ice bath for the green beans.
Blanch green beans in pot until they turn bright green. Approximately 1 - 1 1/2 minutes. Remove green beans and leave potatoes to continue cooking till tender. Approximately 12-15 minutes. Shock green beans by placing them in the prepared ice bath.
For the eggs, bring a separate pot of water to boil. Once it hits a rolling boil, lower eggs gently into water and continue boiling for 30 seconds. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 11 minutes. Once done, transfer eggs to ice bath to cool for 5 minutes. When eggs are sufficiently cooled, carefully crack, peel and quarter.
For faster cooking, you can do this concurrently while the potatoes are cooking. Just be sure to keep track of the timing!
To make salad dressing, combine all dressing ingredients and season to taste.
If eating immediately, toss all ingredients in a large mixing bowl to serve and enjoy. Otherwise, leave out the dressing, and serve separately if eating later.
- Use any lettuce you like, I used butterhead because it was sitting in my fridge.
- Tuna in oil produces the best flavor. But if you want a healthier option go with tuna in water/spring water.
- Shocking the green beans brings out their vibrant green color, and gives the beans a satisfying crunch.
- Shock the green beans first, remove them then use the same ice bath to cool the eggs after cooking.
- This salad tastes good cold too, so don't be afraid to keep it in the fridge for the next day (just be sure to separate the dressing).
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