Salad Nicoise

Even though I don’t consider myself an actual Francophile ;), I do really love things French, and Salad Nicoise is one of my favorite meals ever.

It’s a quintessential summer specialty, so I love that Bastille Day is July 14 (this is also said to be the birthday of the Original Farmers Market). One of my favorite things to do in life, is dine at Monsieur Marcel on Bastille Day and enjoy their Salad Nicoise, see foto below – exquisite on a typical hot July day with iced French lemonade.

A fresh lemon vinaigrette (made famous with our Summer crumbed chicken) or dressing made with fine white wine vinegar is the perfect accent for this one-dish meal that is vivid with color and packed with clean, healthy nutrition. See notes for grocery shopping at end of recipe.

This is so super easy to prepare and doesn’t take a lot of time in a hot kitchen! I hope you will enjoy this classic taste of France all summer long.

Salad Nicoise, for 2

Make White wine vinaigrette:

¼ cup fine white wine vinegar

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 tsp Dijon mustard

½ tsp sugar

½ tsp salt

2 Tbs water

Place all ingredients in blender jar and blend on high until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust seasoning with more salt or sugar as desired.

Prepare salad:

Extra virgin olive oil

Large (1/2 lb+) fresh tuna steak

4 cups mixed salad greens

2 hard-boiled eggs*, quartered

2 small white or red potatoes, cooked, quartered

½ cup cooked haricot verts or green string beans

½ cup favorite olives (Nicoise olives are preferred but not required!)

½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved

Very thinly sliced red onion rings

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

White wine vinaigrette

Rub tuna steak generously with olive oil, and heat skillet over high heat. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Sear tuna on each side for 2-3 minutes, turning once (season 2nd side once turned). Set aside while preparing salad.

To being, toss salad greens with some of the vinaigrette.

In two serving bowls, divide all salad components equally, starting with greens as the bed for the salad. Arrange quartered eggs, potatoes, green beans, olives, and cherry tomatoes attractively, atop greens. Slice seared tuna steak on the diagonal, and rest slices on top of salad, then sprinkle with thinly sliced onion rings. Drizzle with vinaigrette, and sprinkle lightly with salt. Finish dressing the salad with freshly ground pepper.

Yields 2 servings; recipe is easily multiplied in direct proportion for additional servings.

* A very easy and foolproof way to boil eggs is to place eggs in a saucepan filled ¾ full with water, covered or not. Place over high heat. When water boils, place lid on pot, and remove from heat. Set timer for 13 minutes, and then remove eggs from hot water, rinse with cold water. Perfect hard-boiled eggs every time!

Grocery shopping tips

  1. All dressing ingredients – and olives and salt and pepper – are best sought and found at Monsieur Marcel, or any fine grocery store, even Trader Joe’s – where you may find a nice bottle of Modena White Vinegar.
  2. Marcel also has the best seafood counter in all of LA, so find fresh tuna or a nice substitute – per your experts there – for the protein.
  3. My loves at Farm Fresh Produce there at the Market are an excellent source for the fresh greens, tomatoes, onion, potatoes, green beans.
  4. Trader Joe’s has good frozen packaged haricot verts (French green beans) that may be used a little at a time, I recommend them!
Diana Scalia

Diana Scalia

Your Chef and Tour Maestra

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