Nicoise Salad is a delightful French salad known for its vibrant colors and bold flavors. Originating in the city of Nice, it’s a perfect lunch option, combining a variety of ingredients that create a satisfying and nutritious meal. In this recipe, we’ll guide you through how to make this classic salad at home, complete with tips, ingredients, and instructions.
Tips to help you make Nicoise Salad
1. Potato Perfection:
- To ensure perfectly cooked potatoes, choose small red or Yukon Gold potatoes of similar size. Boil them until they are tender but not mushy. You can test their doneness by piercing them with a fork; they should offer little resistance.
2. Boiling Eggs:
- When hard-boiling eggs, start with eggs at room temperature for more even cooking. Place them in a saucepan with cold water, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes. Immediately transfer them to ice water to stop the cooking process, making them easier to peel.
3. Blanching Green Beans:
- To preserve the vibrant green color and crispness of green beans, blanch them in boiling salted water for a short time (2-3 minutes) and then immediately transfer them to ice water. This stops the cooking and locks in the color and texture.
4. Quality Ingredients:
- Use good-quality ingredients, especially for the olives, tuna, and anchovies if you choose to include them. High-quality Nicoise olives and canned tuna packed in olive oil or water will enhance the salad’s flavor.
How To Make Nicoise Salad
Classic Nicoise Salad Recipe
For the Salad
- 8 small red or Yukon Gold potatoes
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup green beans, trimmed and halved
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup Nicoise olives (or Kalamata olives)
- 1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
- 4 cup mixed salad greens (e.g., mesclun mix)
- 5 ounce tuna, drained and flaked
- 4-6 anchovy fillets (optional)
- Fresh basil leaves for garnish (optional)
For the Dressing
- 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tasp Dijon mustard
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Place the potatoes in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Add a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook for about 15-20 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork. Drain and let them cool slightly. Once cooled, cut them into quarters.
- Place the eggs in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook for 8-10 minutes for hard-boiled eggs. Transfer to a bowl of ice water to cool quickly, then peel and cut them in half.
- In a pot of boiling salted water, blanch the green beans for about 2-3 minutes, or until they turn bright green and are crisp-tender. Drain and transfer to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain again and set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, minced garlic, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper. Adjust seasoning to taste.
- On a large serving platter or individual plates, arrange the mixed salad greens. Arrange the cooked potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, blanched green beans, cherry tomatoes, Nicoise olives, and red onion on top of the greens. Add the flaked tuna and anchovy fillets (if using) to the salad .Drizzle the dressing evenly over the salad.
- Garnish the salad with fresh basil leaves, if desired. Serve immediately, with a crusty baguette or French bread on the side.
Nicoise Salad is a delightful combination of textures and flavors, from the creamy eggs and tender potatoes to the briny olives and zesty dressing. It’s a versatile salad that you can customize to your taste, making it a perfect choice for a light yet satisfying lunch. Bon appétit!