Salad Niçoise originates in Nice in the South of France and literally implies the salad of Nice. There are many variations of this. The traditional version contains seafood in the form of anchovies, as Nice is by the water. More popular nowadays is tuna, either fresh or canned. It also has a special Niçoise olive which is a very small, black or green olive, full of flavour, with a very large pit. A hard-boiled egg is also part of this protein-rich salad.
When it comes to the vegetables, again, you will find many variations including boiled potatoes and green beans. However, cooked vegetables are not part of this traditional salad. I have only ever seen recipes with them but I have never been served those in France. Instead, tomatoes are very popular. The salad works well on a bed of lettuce with sliced onion and maybe even capers. I have also seen the addition of cucumbers, radishes and artichoke hearts as well.
In the end, you can make of it what you wish. It is your meal, of course, but this recipe is my attempt to stay as true as possible to an actual Salad Niçoise. The dressing should consist of olive oil and vinegar. I use red wine vinegar and dijon mustard (I know, total different part of France). Mixed in with the dressing is a bit of salt, pepper, and the option of fresh garlic and herbs such as thyme or tarragon. Since I do not like the taste of anchovies alone, I opt for tuna en escabeche that I have from my travels in Spain but any solid tuna will do.
Beyond that, it is a simple matter of combining the ingredients. Arrange some green leaf lettuce or romaine and tomato pieces on a plate. Make sure you salt the tomatoes. Arrange the artichoke hearts and hard-boiled eggs on the plate as well. In the centre of the salad, create a space to put the tuna. Finally, sprinkle the entire salad with thin slices of red onion, capers and Niçoise olives and drizzle the salad with dressing.
There you have it! A full, healthy meal inspired by Nice.
1 small head Romaine lettuce
10 grape tomatoes (cut in 1/2 and lightly salted)
6 marinated artichoke pieces (rinsed)
15-20 niçoise olives
12 salted capers (rinsed)
3 hard-boiled eggs (peeled and sliced in 1/2)
1 can whole tuna in water (drained)
a few thin slices of red onion
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
salt and pepper
1. Arrange lettuce and tomatoes on a platter.
2. Arrange eggs and artichokes on the vegetables.
3. In the centre, place tuna.
4. Sprinkle salad with capers and olives.
6. Mix dressing ingredients together.
7. Drizzle dressing over salad and serve.
Protein 27.6 g