Salade Niçoise Recipe (and Bandol Rosé Porn)

Categories: Wine Time

salade nicoise.jpg
Photos by Tracie P.
When it comes to making a great salade niçoise, it's all about the quality of the ingredients. But that doesn't mean that you need to make a special trip to Whole Foods Market just to make this humble summer dish. In fact, I make my niçoise using ingredients I buy at H-E-B (except the extra-virgin olive oil, San Giuliano from Alghero, Sardinia, which I buy at Central Market, our favorite brand of commercial olive oil).

The other thing to keep in mind is that salade niçoise, like a spaghetti alla puttanesca, is a spur-of-the-moment dish, made with ingredients that you already have in your pantry and fridge.

For the tuna, I use my favorite everyday brand, Starkist, cured in olive oil (olive oil-cured tuna is essential to good niçoise or any recipe that calls for tuna). Unless you're going to go for high-end Spanish or Italian olive oil-cured tuna, I think that the Starkist is just as good as the "premium" brands that cost up to three times as much.

For the potatoes, be sure to boil them with a handful of kosher salt, and put the potatoes in the pot with the water before you heat it (it should take about 40 minutes to boil them).

For the green beans, it should take about 7 to 10 minutes to steam them to the desired tenderness. But be sure to shock them in ice water in order to retain their color and snap.

Use the measurements below as guidelines: The art of niçoise is its spontaneity and its celebration of summer. If you like your dressing spicier, add a little more mustard power and an extra dash of Tabasco. If anchovies are your thing, don't hesitate to toss a couple extra into the mix.

During summer, we generally have boiled potatoes, hard-boiled eggs and green beans in the fridge: I can grab the rest of the ingredients from my cupboard and... voilà...

Salade Niçoise

Serves 4 people

For the salad:

  • 1 head red-leaf lettuce, washed, dried and evenly chopped

  • ¾ lb green beans, trimmed, steamed and chilled

  • 1½ lb small red potatoes, boiled, chilled and halved

  • 3 eggs, gently hard-boiled and halved

  • 3 Roma tomatoes, washed, dried and sliced into rounds

  • ½ medium-sized red onion, peeled and sliced into paper-thin rounds

  • 2-3 cans olive oil-cured tuna

  • 4 salt-cured anchovies, deboned, rinsed and dried

  • brined black olives, strained
  • Prepare and chill the lettuce, green beans, potatoes and eggs beforehand and chill well. Arrange all the ingredients in a large salad bowl or individual salad bowls (if serving in individual bowls, chill the bowls beforehand).

    For the dressing:

  • 6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar

  • ½ tsp mustard powder or 2 tsp Dijon mustard

  • 1 tsp garlic, peeled and minced

  • 1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, washed, dried and finely chopped

  • 1 tbsp brined capers, strained

  • kosher salt to taste

  • black pepper, freshly cracked, to taste

  • Tabasco sauce to taste
  • Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and emulsify using a whisk. For best results, toss the salad with the dressing in a large bowl up to 20 minutes before serving in order to allow all the ingredients to macerate in the dressing (or dress the individual bowls immediately before service).

    The ideal wine pairing for this dish? On Friday, I'll post on what many consider to be the greatest rosé of all time, Bandol Rosé by Domaine Tempier.

    tempier bandol rose.jpg
    Stay tuned!



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    Whole Foods

    2955 Kirby Drive, Houston, TX

    Category: General

    H-E-B

    1701 W. Alabama St., Houston, TX

    Category: General

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    7 comments
    FattyFatBastard
    FattyFatBastard

     Perhaps it is because the first Nicoise recipe I used called for seared tuna.   Tell you what:  I'll try your recipe if you'll try seared tuna as a substitute next time.

    Flaubertg
    Flaubertg

    agree completely. nicoise isn't about sashimi grade rare-cooked tuna, it more about the unctuousness of the fish.

    Jeremy Parzen
    Jeremy Parzen

    who doesn't love sashimi grade tuna? but, honestly, olive oil-cured tuna is, imho, the best with niçoise... thanks for reading yall! :) 

    ReginaDupuis
    ReginaDupuis

     ...or chicken livers poached in sherry and thyme. Whenever the sashimi grade tuna isn't handy.

    Bruce R
    Bruce R

    One of the points Jeremy seemed to be making was that you can probably make this dish with ingredients you already have. I suspect canned tuna is a more commonly kept on hand than sashimi grade tuna.  But if you want to play your game then IMO the dish could be improved by replacing the tuna with a medium-rare ribeye.

    FattyFatBastard
    FattyFatBastard

    You can sub in a lot of stuff for nicoise, such as asparagus, artichoke hearts, etc. but do yourselves all a favor and NEVER waste it all by throwing canned tuna on it.  Spend the extra few bucks,  buy sashimi grade tuna and sear it on both sides with olive oil.  It will make the salad 10 times better.

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