During our recent trip to France we were able to tour vineyards, taste wine, take in amazing views and of course eat some really great food. After spending a few days in Paris, we took a train to the coast and arrived in Nice. On the way to our Airbnb we stopped for lunch at a cute sidewalk cafe called Le Buggy. We were greeted by the friendly owner who spoke very little English, but we were able to communicate with our limited French and some hand gestures.
We had to try a local classic, Salad Niçoise. The traditional French recipe for Salad Niçoise includes lettuce, tomatoes, green beans, tuna, anchovies, Niçoise olives, and eggs, but these days people add lots of other veggies including peppers, radishes, onions and artichokes.
This salad is light and full of fresh flavors, but it’s hearty enough to have as a meal. Feel free to put your own spin on it. I used good-quality tuna packed in olive oil but seared fresh tuna would also be delicious. I couldn’t find Niçoise olives at our grocery store, so I substituted them with kalamata. I also left out the anchovies because I wasn’t in the mood for them, but they do add a nice saltiness to the dish. I highly recommend pairing the salad with some nice crusty baguette, just as the French would!
- For the Salad:
- 8 small red skinned potatoes, sliced ⅓ inch thick
- 2 Tablespoons dry white wine
- 2 cups haricots verts or thin green beans, trimmed
- 2 heads Boston lettuce, leaves separated
- 4 large eggs, hard boiled and sliced
- 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 8 radishes, trimmed and sliced
- 2 15oz cans tuna packed in olive oil, drained
- ½ cup kalamata olives (or Niçoise olives if you can find them)
- For the Vinaigrette:
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar
- ½ shallot, minced
- 2 Tablespoons dijon mustard
- 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
- Pinch of salt and black pepper
- ¾ cup olive oil
- Place the sliced potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook until fork-tender, about 8-10 minutes. Drain and transfer to a bowl, drizzle with white wine and let cool.
- Next, fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice water and place aside. Add the haricots verts/ green beans to the boiling water and cook until crisp-tender and bright green, about 2-4 minutes. Drain and immediately place into the ice water bath to cool. Drain from ice water bath and pat dry.
- Now make the vinaigrette. In a bowl, whisk together white wine vinegar, shallot, mustard, thyme, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until emulsified. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
- Assemble the salads. Divide the lettuce among 4 plates. Arrange the potatoes, haricots verts, hard boiled eggs, tomatoes, radishes and tuna on top. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and top with olives.