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Tuna Niçoise Salad

Nothing says “I’m on vacation” like a two-hour, three-glasses-of-rosé lunch. The key is finding a dish whose prep won’t eat into valuable dozing-off-with-a-book-in-your-lap time. Enter this salad.


  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more
  • 1 lb. green beans, trimmed and/or new or baby potatoes, halved if larger
  • 4 cups seedless cucumbers
  • Olives, capers, peperoncini, pickles, or other pickled-briny ingredients (for serving)

Recipe Preparation

  • Whisk oil, lemon juice, mustard, honey, pepper, and 1 tsp. kosher salt in a medium bowl; set dressing aside.

  • Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Carefully add eggs and cook 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer eggs to a bowl of ice water (keep pot over high heat); chill until cold, about 5 minutes. Peel; set aside.

  • Meanwhile, add green beans and potatoes to the same pot of boiling water and cook until just tender, 2–4 minutes for green beans, 10–15 minutes for potatoes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to bowl of ice water; let sit until cold, about 3 minutes. Transfer to paper towels; pat dry.

  • To serve, slice eggs in half and arrange on a platter with cooked and raw vegetables and tuna. Top with pickled-briny ingredient(s), sprinkle with sea salt, and drizzle some reserved dressing over. Serve with remaining dressing alongside.

  • Do Ahead: Dressing can be made 5 days ahead; cover and chill. Eggs can be boiled and vegetables blanched 2 days ahead; cover and chill separately.

Reviews Section

Recipe Summary

  • 1 1/2 pounds small red new potatoes, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 pints grape tomatoes
  • 2 bunches arugula (4 to 6 ounces each), ends trimmed, washed and dried
  • 1/4 cup Lemon Vinaigrette
  • 2 cans (6 ounces each) tuna in olive oil, drained
  • 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place potatoes on sheet. Drizzle with oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Roast for 15 minutes. Add tomatoes to potatoes on baking sheet toss. Cook until potatoes are tender and tomatoes are lightly browned and soft, about 10 minutes.

In a medium bowl, toss arugula with 2 tablespoons vinaigrette. Arrange roasted vegetables, arugula, tuna, and olives on platter drizzle with remaining vinaigrette. Serve.

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Nothing says summer in the French Riviera like a niçoise salad. But what if you can’t see the pastel coastline or feel the warm ocean breeze on your brow? Then simply take your salad outdoors, sit under an umbrella, and sip a crisp Provençal white wine. Dreamers always have more fun.

Game plan: The dressing, potatoes, and green beans can be prepared in advance—just make sure to toss the potatoes in the dressing while they’re still warm. Let the ingredients come to room temperature before assembling the salad.

The olives can be pitted or not, depending on your preference.

Tips for Eggs, Tuna, and Fish

Eggs should keep a consistent and low temperature. This is best achieved by placing their carton in the center of your fridge. The eggs should also remain in their original packaging to avoid the absorption of strong odors.

It is wise to follow the “best by” date to determine overall freshness, but eggs can be tested by simply dropping them into a bowl of water. Older eggs will float while fresh eggs will sink. This is due to the size of their air cells, which gradually increase over time.

Cooked eggs have a refrigerator shelf life of no more than four days, while hard-boiled eggs, peeled or unpeeled, are safe to consume up to one week after they’re prepared.

The beauty of an egg is its versatility. Eggs can be cooked in a variety of ways. Here are some tips in accomplishing the four most common preparations.

Scrambled: Whip your eggs in a bowl. The consistency of your scrambled eggs is a personal preference, though it seems like the majority of breakfast connoisseurs enjoy a more runny and fluffy option. In this case, add about ¼ cup of milk for every four eggs. This will help to thin the mix. Feel free to also season with salt and pepper (or stir in cream cheese for added decadence). Grease a skillet with butter over medium heat and pour in the egg mixture. As the eggs begin to cook, begin to pull and fold the eggs with a spatula until it forms curds. Do not stir constantly. Once the egg is cooked to your liking, remove from heat and serve.

Hard-boiled: Fill a pot that covers your eggs by about two inches. Remove the eggs and bring the water to a boil. Once the water begins to boil, carefully drop in the eggs and leave them for 10-12 minutes. For easy peeling, give the eggs an immediate ice bath after the cooking time is completed. For soft-boiled eggs, follow the same process, but cut the cooking time in half.

Poached: Add a dash of vinegar to a pan filled with steadily simmering water. Crack eggs individually into a dish or small cup. With a spatula, create a gentle whirlpool in the pan. Slowly add the egg, whites first, into the water and allow to cook for three minutes. Remove the egg with a slotted spoon and immediately transfer to kitchen paper to drain the water.

Sunny Side Up/Over Easy/Medium/Hard: For each of these preparations, you are cracking an egg directly into a greased frying pan. For sunny side up, no flipping is involved. Simply allow the edges to fry until they’re golden brown. To achieve an over easy egg, flip a sunny side up egg and cook until a thin film appears over the yolk. The yolk should still be runny upon serving. An over medium egg is flipped, fried, and cooked longer until the yolk is still slightly runny. An over hard is cooked until the yolk is hard.

Eggs can easily be frozen, but instructions vary based on the egg’s physical state. As a general rule, uncooked eggs in their shells should not be frozen. They must be cracked first and have their contents frozen.

Uncooked whole eggs: The eggs must be removed from their shells, blended, and poured into containers that can seal tightly.

Uncooked egg whites: The same process as whole eggs, but you can freeze whites in ice cube trays before transferring them to an airtight container. This speeds up the thawing process and can help with measuring.

Uncooked yolks: Egg yolks alone can turn extremely gelatinous if frozen. For use in savory dishes, add ⅛ teaspoon of salt per four egg yolks. Substitute the salt for sugar for use in sweet dishes and/or desserts.

Cooked eggs: Scrambled eggs are fine to freeze, but it is advised to not freeze cooked egg whites. They become too watery and rubbery if not mixed with the yolk.

Hard-boiled eggs: As mentioned above, it is best to not freeze hard-boiled eggs because cooked whites become watery and rubbery when frozen.

Assembling the Salad

This is the meat-and-potatoes of the salad—or should I say beans-and-potatoes?

As with any thoughtfully prepared salad, I combine all of the ingredients except for the eggs in a large bowl, then drizzle the vinaigrette on top. Using my (clean) hands, I gently toss it all together, until each and every ingredient is lightly coated in the dressing. I season it all with salt and pepper, then portion the salad into individual bowls.

The eggs are the only component that I add afterward in a more "composed" fashion, ringing each bowl with them. This is for practical reasons: Tossing the egg quarters with everything else would cause the yolks to fall out, and an egg, as everyone knows, is most enjoyable when white and yolk are eaten together.


  • For the Salad:
  • 1/2 pound white potatoes (scrubbed)
  • 1/4 pound fresh green beans (trimmed)
  • 4 cups salad greens (either baby greens or larger greens torn into bite-sized pieces)
  • 1 large (12-oz.) can tuna (drained)
  • 4 hard boiled eggs (peeled and quartered)
  • 2/3 cup brine-cured pitted black olives (e.g. Kalamata)
  • 10 to 12 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • For the Dressing:
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup aged red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic (peeled)
  • 3-4 anchovy fillets
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste

Recipe Summary

  • ½ pound new potatoes, quartered
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup pitted nicoise olives
  • ½ onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 (5 ounce) can tuna
  • ⅓ pound fresh green beans - rinsed, trimmed and blanched
  • ½ pound mixed salad greens
  • 1 cup lemon vinaigrette
  • 3 hard-cooked eggs, quartered
  • 3 roma (plum) tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 4 anchovy filets

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes, and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain and cool.

In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, parsley, olives, onion, tuna and green beans. Refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours.

In large bowl, toss greens with vinaigrette and top with chilled potato mixture. Garnish with eggs, tomatoes, capers and anchovies.

Perfect salade niçoise

C all me old-fashioned, but surely the whole point of a classic recipe is that the punter knows, within an olive or two, what they are going to get. But order a salade niçoise anywhere along the Riviera and you will get a different lunch every time. One cook might include a handful of long, emerald-green haricot vert, another a few broad beans. A thoughtful chef might add a couple of sliced, marinated artichoke hearts (yes, please) and a fistful of those diminutive purple-black olives from Les Baux. On the one hand you may be the lucky owner of crisp Cos lettuce draped with meaty little anchovies on the other you could find yourself doing battle with the whims of a chef anxious to make his mark, and end up with a dish whose history has been distorted for the sake of a whiz-kid's ego.

Of course none of them will quite match up to the perfect salade niçoise you had on holiday a few summers back, your table set under a white parasol just a couple of steps from the beach. You were tanned, your shoulders sparkled with sand and you had the quietly smug smile of someone who has had sex three times in the last 24 hours. Sadly, there is no seasoning quite so tasty as nostalgia.

To get a dish right - perfect - you need to understand where it has come from: the sort of ingredients involved and where they grow the flavours inherent in the area the mood and style of the people who regularly make and eat that dish. You have, if you like, to understand its soul.

Salade niçoise should have the salty robustness of the French coast. It should shout the loud flavours of the area, the sort of thing you tuck into with the sun in the your eyes and salt on your lips. To be true to its origins there should be garlic in the dressing. Heyraud, author of La Cuisine à Nice , wrote in 1903 that the true salad of that name should contain quartered artichoke hearts, raw peppers and tomatoes, black olives and anchovy fillets. The dressing should be olive oil (what else in that part of the world?), vinegar, salt, pepper, mustard and chopped 'fines herbes' - by which he meant parsley, chives, chervil and tarragon. Not even a lettuce leaf here, and certainly no sign of any tuna.

The more you travel, the more you eat, the more you realise there are no real rules to this one, but there are constants. The omission of one of these ingredients is to miss the point. To be true to its name this salad must be true to its geography - it must reek of olives, garlic, anchovy and tomatoes. Crisp lettuce also turns up every time. The rest - the beans, the artichokes, the hard-boiled eggs, the onion, broad beans, new potatoes and chopped onion - will depend on the whim of those in the kitchen. I don't go along with the peppers, partly because they confuse the issue, and partly because I can't eat them raw.

My perfect niçoise is unlikely to include tuna for the simple reason that it tends to dominate everything else in your mouth. Some gutsy little anchovies, boned and rinsed of much of their salt, would be much more welcome. Not that you can guarantee the inclusion of tuna on its home territory: whenever I say 'hold the tuna' I am invariably told that I wasn't going to get any anyway.

Beans of some sort are a given. I put in some broad beans the other day, boiled and popped from their skins. French beans, verging on the overcooked, are something I would add more for textural contrast than flavour. They feel right. Basil, though not strictly part of the traditional recipe, is something high on my extras list, partly because it seems right in anything that involves tomatoes and olives. Potatoes, at least in my book, don't come into it.

The anchovies
There are two very distinct types of anchovy fillets - those preserved in oil, and the red and meaty ones that are kept in coarse salt. The oil-preserved ones have a less interesting flavour but need nothing more than rinsing and patting dry before use.

The lettuce
Let's be strict here - salade niçoise is no place for a designer lettuce. This is Cos or Little Gem territory. You need crunch. The Gem leaves are small enough to leave whole the rabbit-eared Cos will need a bit of tearing. I sometimes cut the Little Gems into quarters rather than prizing the leaves apart.

The tomatoes
Ideally, use those rough and knobbly French Marmande, if not, really ripe plum tomatoes. They should be the juiciest you can find. Some people skin theirs, some don't. I do, but much depends on the tomato itself and how thick its skin is. Take care not to 'cook' it when you drop it into boiling water to loosen its skin. Quartering the tomatoes rather than slicing them will save the salade from becoming 'wet'. I have eaten so many salades where the tomatoes weren't quite ripe. A shame, because when they are perfect, sweet with a snap of acidity, they, rather than anchovies, become the star of the dish.

The olives
No olives, no salade niçoise. I like the oval, matt, purple olives from Provence or, taking the ingredients out of their territory, southern Italy. Most times you get those fat, sticky fruit as black as molten tar. Very often they have been marinated with thyme and garlic. They'll do. What is all wrong are green olives, stuffed olives and, worst of all, no olives at all.

The beans
Long French beans are what I expect in this salad. They are better when properly cooked (ie, softly bending and dark green) rather than fashionably blanched. Broad beans, boiled and skinned, make a sound addition, though in my experience they tend to turn up only in home-cooked versions.

The dressing
Garlic needs to figure somewhere in this, otherwise it ain't niçoise. Red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, a tiny seasoning of salt - you already have olives and anchovies - and some black pepper, and, perhaps, just a dab of mustard are all you need.

The extras
Feelings run high about 'extras'. Someone, somewhere will argue that at least one of these is essential and I am a heathen to suggest otherwise.

Artichoke hearts - the bottled sort, marinated in olive oil. I regard this as a high point in the proceedings. I suppose it is simply that I associate the mauve and sage-coloured spiky globes with the area. They turn up in the more expensive versions.

Boiled eggs. Escoffier didn't and neither do I, but most of us regard them as de rigueur . The eggs should be only barely set.

Capers. They add bite and piquancy, making this the loud-flavoured salad it should be.

Basil and parsley are both interesting additions, but are by no means essential. Radishes, peppers, white haricots and, I think, new potatoes have taken a wrong turning on the way to Cannes. They should have turned left at Dijon.

Salade niçoise
Serves 2 as a substantial main course

a large handful of thin French beans
2 free-range eggs
4 tomatoes
6 preserved artichoke hearts
8 salted anchovies
a small Cos lettuce or 2 Little Gems
12 black olives
a few sprigs of flat-leaf parsley

The dressing

2 tbsp red wine vinegar
a little Dijon mustard if you wish
100ml extra virgin olive oil
2 small, young cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
crusty bread to serve

Top and tail the beans and cook them briefly in salted boiling water. They should be dark green and cooked enough so that they bend. Boil the eggs for 4-5 minutes until they are just hard-boiled. Soak them under cold running water so they stop cooking and dark circles don't form around the yolks. Peel.

Cut a tiny cross in the skin at the round end of the tomatoes and dunk them into boiling water. After 30 seconds or so remove them and peel away the skins. Cut the tomatoes in quarters. Drain the artichokes of their oil and cut each one into four.

Rinse the anchovies. If you are using salted ones, pull away the bones and check for stray whiskers.

Wash the lettuce, tearing up the leaves if they are large, and put them in a deep serving dish or shallow bowl. Arrange the tomatoes, quartered eggs, anchovies, artichokes, olives and beans on leaves.

Chop the parsley, not too finely, and add to the salad. Make the dressing by whisking the vinegar and mustard together with the garlic and some salt and pepper, then drizzling in the oil. Pour over the salad and serve.

Recipe Summary

  • 1/2 pound green beans
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup pitted Niçoise olives (3 ounces)
  • 1 cup roasted red or yellow bell peppers, cut into strips
  • Two 2-ounce cans flat anchovies packed in olive oil, drained and chopped
  • 1/2 cup torn basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Four 6-ounce, 1-inch-thick tuna steaks
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 400°. Put the beans in a steamer basket and steam over 1 inch of boiling water until crisp-tender, 4 minutes transfer to a large roasting pan.

Lightly squeeze the tomatoes and add to the pan. Add the olives, bell pepper, anchovies and basil, toss with 1/4 cup of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Brush the tuna steaks with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Set the tuna on the vegetables. Nestle 4 ramekins among the vegetables and crack an egg into each ramekin. Drizzle the eggs with 1 tablespoon of the oil and season with salt and pepper

Roast the tuna, vegetables and eggs in the center of the oven for 15 minutes, until the fish is slightly rare in the center and the egg whites are set, but the yolks are still runny.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the remaining 1/4 cup of oil with the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the dressing over the vegetables and tuna steaks. Transfer to plates and serve immediately.

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  2. Turn the heat to low until the water is just simmering and carefully lower in the eggs.
  3. Cook for 7 to 8 minutes (this should yield creamy, not chalky, yolks) and remove with a slotted spoon.
  4. Transfer to a bowl of cold water.
  5. Salt the same pot of water and add the potatoes.
  6. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until tender but not mushy.
  7. Right before the potatoes are done, toss in the green beans and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until crisp-tender. (You can cook the green beans in their own pot, but why waste the water and the energy?)
  8. Drain both vegetables together.
  9. Heat a grill pan or cast-iron skillet over high heat.
  10. Season the tuna with salt and pepper.
  11. When the pan is very hot, add the tuna and cook for 2 minutes per side, until browned on the outside but still pink in the middle.
  12. Remove and let rest for a minute or two, then slice into thin strips.
  13. Peel the eggs and slice in half.
  14. Toss the greens with enough vinaigrette to just lightly cover.
  15. Divide among 4 chilled plates or bowls.
  16. In individual piles around the lettuce, arrange the potatoes, tomatoes, olives, green beans, and eggs.
  17. Top with slices of tuna and drizzle with extra vinaigrette, if you like.

Eat This Tip

Fresh tuna is an amazing product that takes well to quick pan-searing and high-heat grilling. Trouble is, it can set you back up to $20 a pound. If you're looking to cut the cost of this dinner by about 60 percent (and speed things up a bit), ditch the fresh fish and reach for a high-quality can of tuna instead. If you can find canned or jarred tuna from Spain or Italy (Ortiz is a great brand), make it the new star of this dish. Regardless of the brand, figure half a can of tuna per salad.

This recipe (and hundreds more!) came from one of our Cook This, Not That! books. For more easy cooking ideas, you can also buy the book!

Niçoise-Style Chopped Salad

Traditional French salade niçoise is a protein-packed meal made with tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, Niçoise olives, anchovies, and a nice drizzle of olive oil. Niçoise olives are grown only in the French Riviera, and due to a low crop yield, what precious few are harvested are mostly sold and consumed within France. If you can&rsquot get your hands on them, substitute it with any variety you&rsquod like: in our recipe, we go with black olives to match the dark color of Niçoise olives, but kalamata will do just as well here.

Our version includes a healthy dose of vegetables: fresh green beans that are quickly blanched to bring out their naturally vibrant color and taste, crunchy and mildly sweet sliced romaine hearts, and juicy, punchy cherry tomatoes that always somehow taste delicious even when it&rsquos not tomato season. For protein, we add perfect 9-minute hard-boiled eggs and high-quality oil-packed tuna. Tossed with a quick-to-make Dijon vinaigrette, this is hands-down one of the most nutritious meals you can have all year round. And don&rsquot worry&mdashour version doesn&rsquot use anchovies! (But if you&rsquore a fan, we won&rsquot stop you from putting a couple in your bowl.)

Hungry for more? Check out our other healthy dinner salad ideas! If you&rsquove made this recipe, please share your thoughts below in the comments section and leave us a rating!

Watch the video: A Classic Salad Nicoise Recipe with an Innovative Twist (November 2021).