Salade Niçoise

Posted by on Aug 11, 2015 in Recipes by Karen Gros | 0 comments

Salade Niçoise

Classic Salade Niçoise is a type of potato salad ~ hearty enough to stand alone as a meal ~ thanks to the addition of tuna (yes, canned tuna is traditional!), green beans, and hard-boiled eggs.  To be “Niçoise” means to be from the city of Nice, France.  My sister-in-law, though born and raised in Marseille, considers herself Niçoise as she has spent most of her adult life in the sunny Mediterranean coastal city.  We make this local specialty often during our time together at her place in summer.

Recipe adapted from Les Recettes Faciles by Françoise Bernard, and influenced by The French Chef series with Julia Child.

Serves 4 as a main dish

1 jar of capers
1 can of anchovies
4 large fresh farm eggs
¼ cup Morton table salt
4 medium “boiling” potatoes, such as Yukon Gold
1 pound thin green beans (‘haricots verts’), stems snipped
Juice of ½ lemon, fresh
¼ cup white wine, optional
4 medium tomatoes
1 red or yellow pepper, halved and seeded
1 small head of lettuce, washed & thoroughly dried
1 can of albacore tuna
5-6 ounces black olives, preferably Niçoise olives
Freshly ground pepper, to taste


1 clove garlic, pressed
¼ cup white wine or apple cider vinegar
½ teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
¾ cup high-quality extra virgin olive oil

  1. Drain the capers, and place in a small bowl, covered with cool water. Drain the anchovies, and place in a small bowl, covered with cool water. If using olives other than Niçoise, drain and soak them in the same way.
  1. Bring a pot of water with a tablespoon of salt to boil. Separately, bring the water in a steamer with lid to a boil. Place eggs in yet a third saucepan; fill with water until eggs are just covered, add the ¼ cup of salt (makes peeling a snap!)  Cover with lid, bring eggs to a boil, then remove from heat, and let set 8 minutes covered. Prepare ice-water bath.
  1. Place the whole potatoes in the top of the steamer. Cook for 20 minutes, then pierce with a knife to check doneness. Cook 3-5 minutes longer, if necessary, taking care not to overcook the potatoes, or they will fall apart when tossing the salad.   Prepare ice-water bath. Meanwhile, blanch the green beans in boiling pot of water 5 minutes until tender. Prepare ice-water bath.
  1. Strain the beans, and plunge them into the ice-water bath for 2 minutes to stop cooking. Strain again, then drain in a dishtowel or paper towels to eliminate excess moisture. Strain the eggs and place them into the ice-water bath until ready to peel, making sure to keep the water cold.
  1. Plunge the whole potatoes in the ice-water bath for 5 minutes to stop cooking. Strain; peel the potatoes, and cut them in half crosswise. Slice the potatoes into ¼ -inch half-rounds, and place in a large bowl. Mix the juice of half a lemon with ½ cup of water (or half water/half white wine); pour the mixture over the potatoes and toss gently. Set aside.
  1. Peel eggs: Remove them from the cold water, gently cracking each egg lightly on all sides. Peel each egg under cold running water, and place on paper towels.
  1. Strain the olives and set on a paper towel-lined plate. Strain the capers and anchovies from the water, and separately, set each in a paper towel-lined bowl.
  1. Prepare the vinaigrette: Whisk together the pressed garlic, vinegar, salt, and mustard. Once emulsified, whisk in the olive oil.
  1. Halve the tomatoes, and slice into wedges. Slice the pepper into thin strips. Halve the eggs, and place on a plate, along with the anchovies.
  1. To serve ~ the presentation is the main event in this dish. Here’s the authentic “Présentation du Chef” ~ but feel free to artfully arrange the dish in your own creative way. Julia Child’s tip is to coat each item separately with the vinaigrette first, before assembling the presentation, in the following manner:
  • Drain any remaining liquid from the potatoes, and toss them with 4 tablespoons vinaigrette.
  • In separate bowls, toss the tomato wedges, green beans, and pepper strips each with 2 tablespoons vinaigrette. Drizzle one tablespoon vinaigrette lightly over the eggs and anchovies.  Toss the tuna with 2 tablespoons vinaigrette.
  • Lightly toss the lettuce leaves with one tablespoon of vinaigrette; arrange on large serving platter, leaving a hole in the middle.
  • Mound the potatoes in the center of the lettuce.
  • Place the tomato wedges atop the lettuce on 4 quadrants. Place the beans atop the lettuce, also in 4’s, beside the tomatoes; repeat with the peppers.
  • Nestle two egg halves in front of each group of tomatoes, criss-cross the anchovies over each egg and sprinkle with the capers. Place a scoop of tuna beside each group of eggs.
  • Decorate the platter with the olives, and drizzle the remaining vinaigrette over the whole.       Sprinkle with sea salt, preferable fleur de sel, and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Present the salad, and serve immediately, without tossing.