Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Niçoise Salad

It's officially Fall, and I am basking in the sunny, warm days of Utah. Since we had a late growing season here. I am  taking full advantage and stocking up on the great end-of-summer produce that's overflowing from my local farmers market. This week I got ripe tomatoes, green and yellow wax beans, and the sweetest corn on the cob. To utilize my great produce and use some recently gifted items, I decided that a niçoise salad would be an appropriate dish for an early dinner.

The niçoise salad is from Provence, traditionally consisting of fresh vegetables, hard boiled egg, canned tuna, anchovies, and olives (specifically niçoise olives). In my version I decided to use the principle of local seasonal ingredients to build my salad. It's not a traditional niçoise but everything was chosen based on what's in peak season, in my pantry, available to me in the market, and - most importantly - what I love!

My parents visited recently and brought me some high quality canned tuna from their last visit with Sasha in Victoria. The tuna was the perfect protein for this healthy salad. I bought lettuce and potatoes from the grocery store to go with my seasonal produce from the farmers market. I also have fresh eggs from a neighbor with a chicken coop. Fresh eggs from free-grazing chickens are something special! Just look at the color of the yolk - orange, vibrant, and so incredibly flavorful! I love oil-cured olives and decided that I would forgo the traditional niçoise olive in this recipe to get in a few of these delicious ones instead. Here's my version - delicious, healthy, and satisfying!

Here are the ingredients you will need (serves 4):
  • 4 red potatoes, cut into wedges
  • 4 eggs, as fresh as possible
  • 1 ear of corn, husked and cut in half lengthwise
  • 1/4 lb green beans, trimmed and cut in half
  • 1/4 lb good black olives 
  • 1 can oil cured tuna, drained and flaked
  • 1 head lettuce, washed, drained, and chopped
  • 2 ripe red tomatoes, each sliced into 8 wedges
  • 2 tbsp champagne vinegar
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp oil from canned tuna
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper 
For the vinaigrette, mix the above ingredients together in a small bowl until combined. 

This salad is easy to prepare. It requires one pot of boiling water for blanching all the vegetables and another bowl of ice water to shock many of them, stopping them from overcooking, and locking in their vibrant colors. Season one pot of water with two tablespoons of kosher salt and bring to a boil, and prepare the other pot with ice water.

To start, cook the potatoes until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain and place in a bowl, then drizzle with two teaspoons of the vinaigrette. Mix until the vinaigrette coats the potatoes, and set aside to cool. Boil the eggs for 8-9 minutes to get a medium-boiled egg. I live at over 5000' of elevation, so those of you at sea level can cook the eggs for 6-7 minutes. Remove the eggs and cool them in a bowl of ice water - this allows sulfur to escape, which otherwise can create a green tint on the exterior of the yolk. Let the eggs cool for 10 minutes, then set them aside. Cook the green beans and corn for 3 minutes before removing them and shocking them in the ice water. Set them aside on a paper towel to dry. Cut the kernels of corn off the cob and let them dry further on a paper towel. All of these vegetables can be cooked up to 24 hours in advance and kept in the refrigerator covered in Tupperware or with plastic wrap.

Prior to serving, peel the shells off the eggs and cut each lengthwise into 4 wedges. Place the lettuce on a large platter and arrange the the remainder of the components of the salad in bunches on top of the lettuce leaves. I alternated light-colored vegetables with bright-colored ones to create greater contrast. Place the tuna in the middle. Feel free to drizzle the vinaigrette over the top of the salad, or if you are preparing it in advance, then serve the vinaigrette on the side.


  1. Gorgeous salad! Those eggs in particular just look SO perfect! :)

  2. So pretty--and one of my favorite kinds of salad. I need to put this on next week's rotation.

  3. What a fabulous looking picture of that salad. My husband would love it.