A really good Salad Nicoise requires quality ingredients and should only be served when tomatoes are at their best – try and find assorted colors. I use fresh tuna, free range, organic eggs and thin French green beans. Anchovies are criss-crossed over the tuna and the whole salad is scattered with capers. There is no lettuce. The dressing is robust so garlic is optional. One little tip is to plunge the ‘al dente’ cooked green beans into a bowl of iced water – this prevents further cooking and preserves their bright green color.
1 tbsp. olive oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 oz. fresh tuna – seared and cut into pieces
8 oz. new potatoes
8 oz. French green beans
16 baby tomatoes – halved
24 black olives without pits – halved
8 anchovy fillets
A scattering of capers
Heat the oil in a skillet or frying pan and when nice and hot add the tuna and sear on both sides, seasoning again when you turn the tuna over. Cooking time will depend on how thick the tuna is and how pink you like it (rough guide for 1 inch thick steaks – about 3 minutes each side).
Cook the potatoes and the eggs in the same water for about 10 minutes until the potatoes are cooked through. Take the potatoes out of the water with a slotted spoon and let cool. The eggs can be left in the water until it is cool.
Cook the green beans until ‘al dente’ then plunge into a bowl of iced water.
When the potatoes are cool, cut into 1/4’s or 1/6’s.
Peel the eggs and cut them into quarters and then each quarter into 1/3rds.
To assemble start in the middle of the serving dish with the tuna, place tomatoes each side of the tuna, followed by the potatoes, olives and eggs. Circle the whole dish with green beans.
FRENCH DRESSING (garlic optional)
1 clove of garlic – grated
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. Champagne vinegar
3 tbsp. olive oil
Place garlic, mustard and vinegar in a bowl (preferably with a lid) and whisk together. Pour in the oil. Shake or whisk vigorously till dressing is emulsified.