Since PartySugar and I have been infatuated with salads this Summer, I thought it would be appropriate to pay homage to the French national holiday today with a specialty native to the Côte D'Azur region of France.

Salade Nicoise, or Nicoise salad, originated in the town of Nice, and is made with boiled new potatoes, steamed haricots verts (baby green beans), boiled eggs, local olives, cured anchovies, and tomatoes, tossed in a Dijon mustard vinaigrette and topped with tuna. I selected a recipe that uses some classic ingredients, but also incorporates a few unconventional flourishes — like seared tuna and caperberries — for a current twist.

It's extremely important to note that the tuna should be removed from the pan immediately after searing — I left it in the pan after turning off the stove, and latent heat nearly cooked the tuna through. Bring a bite of French countryside to your kitchen when you read more.

Salade Niçoise

Salade Niçoise


  1. Vinaigrette:
  2. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  3. 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  4. 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  5. 1/2 lemon, juiced
  6. 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  7. 2 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon
  8. Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  9. 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  10. Salad:
  11. 1 pound small red new potatoes, scrubbed and halved
  12. 8 large eggs
  13. 1/2 pound haricots verts or French green beans, stems trimmed
  14. 2 pounds fresh sushi-quality tuna
  15. 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  16. Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  17. 1 pint teardrop or cherry tomatoes, halved
  18. 1 cup nicoise olives
  19. 16 anchovy fillets
  20. 16 caperberries with stems
  21. 1/2 bunch fresh chives, snipped in half


  1. Make the vinaigrette: Combine all ingredients in a mason jar. Screw the cap on the jar and shake the vinaigrette vigorously to emulsify. Set the dressing aside while preparing the salad so the flavors can marry.
  2. Cooking the potatoes, eggs, and green beans in the same pot cuts down on prep time and clean up. To do this, put the potatoes in a large saucepan, add water to cover and a nice pinch of salt; bring to a boil over medium heat. Simmer the potatoes for 12 minutes to give them a head start, and then add the eggs. Place a steamer basket or colander on top of the simmering water. Put the green beans in the steamer and cover with a lid. Steam the beans for 5 minutes until crisp-tender while continuing to cook the potatoes until fork tender. Drain out the water and put the potatoes, eggs, and green beans in a colander; rinse briefly under cold water. Peel the shells off the eggs and cut them in half lengthwise.
  3. Sear tuna: Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Rub the tuna on all sides with olive oil, and a bit of the vinaigrette; season with a fair amount of salt and pepper. Lay the tuna in the hot pan and sear for approximately 2 minutes on each side; as the tuna cooks, the red meat will become whiter. Immediately transfer the tuna to a cutting board and slice them against the grain.
  4. Assemble the salad: Combine the potatoes, green beans, tomatoes, olives, anchovies, capers, and chives in a large mixing bowl. Take the vinaigrette and give it another good shake to recombine. Drizzle the salad with enough vinaigrette to fully moisten and toss gently to coat; season with salt and pepper. Take care not to mush up the ingredients - the important thing about salade Niçoise is that it is arranged nicely on a platter with all the elements keeping their individual integrity. Put the tossed salad down the center of a serving platter and lay the seared tuna attractively across the top and the eggs around the rim. Drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette and serve.

Serves 8.

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