Here’s another classic from my hometown, Nice. Also called “la salade du soleil” (salad of the sun) in our region. It is loaded with fresh produce brought from the daily neighborhood open market or picked fresh from the garden. This salad will evolve with the seasons. It will be slightly different in Spring than in Summer. I will give you a modern version. Have fun and be proud of your own version. Needless to say, this is a whole meal to be enjoyed with family and friends.
Prep Time: 40 min.
- 1 head of fresh lettuce or your favorite garden salad
- 8 heirloom tomatoes, firm and not too ripe
- ½ lb of new small potatoes or small red potatoes
- 4 oz haricots verts or green beans (about ¾ cup)
- 2 small artichokes, peeled and sliced or 1 can artichoke hearts (optional)
- 1 colorful pepper (green, red, yellow)
- 8 oz canned tuna pieces in water
- 1 celery branch with leaves
- 2 green onions or 2 shallots
To decorate your salad:
- 6 eggs, hard-boiled
- 2 oz small black olives Niçoises (about 1/3 cup)
- 8 anchovies filets in olive oil, patted dry
Red Wine Vinaigrette:
- 8 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Cut the salad leaves from the core, wash and drain properly.
- Wash the tomatoes; cut them in 8 parts, do not slice them (it looks prettier and you won’t have tomato seeds all over the salad). Sprinkle them with sea salt and let sit in your refrigerator.
- Hard-boil the eggs; cool and peel them and cut them in quarters.
- Cook the potatoes until tender but not too soft. Drain, cool and set aside. Cut in halves.
- Steam your haricots verts for 5 minutes or until al dente. Drain, cool, set aside. Cut in 2 inch pieces.
- Peel and mince the green onions or shallots.
- Place the anchovy fillets between two paper towels to pat them dry.
- Wash the pepper; cut the top off; take the seeds out and slice thin.
- Wash the celery and cut into small dice.
- If you wish to use fresh artichokes, pull the outer leaves out and with a small knife, cut out the outer part to expose the heart. Rub with a half fresh lemon all over to keep it from darkening. Slice thin and reserve. Or drain canned artichoke hearts.
- Using a large deep platter or salad bowl, place the salad leaves at the bottom; add a layer of tomatoes, a few potato halves, a few cut haricots verts, a few slices of artichoke (optional), a couple of slices of colorful pepper, tuna pieces, a couple of pinches of diced celery and green onion slices.
- Repeat this operation until you run out of ingredients.
- Prepare your vinaigrette. Toss the composed salad gently.
- Decorate the top of your salad with hard-boiled egg quarters, small black olives and anchovy fillets. Bon Appétit!
Chef’s tip: If you want to prepare a luxury version of this salad, you can replace the canned tuna with fresh grilled tuna.
Other options are fresh shelled green peas or beans, add a few leaves of parsley or basil; add finely minced garlic. You can use any salad greens you like or even mixed field greens (my favorite). Have fun and be creative. Just don’t go too far out there or you will not be able to call it “Salade Niçoise” any more.