Salad Nicoise is an absolute classic, and also one of my favourite summer meals. While originally served by the French as an hors d’oeuvres, the substantial ingredients mean it works perfectly as a main dish. Like many classics there seems to be some serious disagreement about the appropriate inclusions, but for me anchovies, (tinned) tuna, egg, olives, green beans, tomatoes and potatoes are the essentials.
I’ve written before about a few of my favourite ‘composed’ salads, and this is definitely also on the list – even though ‘composed’ versus ‘tossed’ is one of the points of controversy among traditionalists! Like most of these salads, the last minute effort is actually quite small, as the cooked vegetables can be prepared in advance, and most of the other ingredients only need to be pulled out of the pantry.
While I’ve highlighted the essentials for me, the greens to use are one of the things that are flexible, though I think a combination of lettuces is nice. In this case I’ve used cos and oak leaf lettuces plus baby spinach, but you can use whatever you prefer. For the tomatoes, any small juicy tomato is fine, I used baby Roma as that was what I had, but cherry, or normal (smallish) salad tomatoes would also be great.
After mentioning a list of essential ingredients, the eagle eyed of you might notice a big omission from the salad pictured above. As we were eating this post Christmas, I used up some left over roast potatoes rather than using boiled, and also threw in a few leftover (very non traditional) croutons – I wouldn’t bother with either of these if they weren’t left over, but it was certainly a delicious variation!
For those who follow the DALS rule that the family is technically eating the same meal if you have a major ingredient in common, you might be interested in Mr M’s ‘Salad Nicoise’ at the bottom with lettuce, snow pea sprouts, capsicum, egg whites, olives, croutons and left over tofu strips!
I really love this combination of ingredients, and it always seems to take me by surprise how delicious it is – one of those meals where you think ‘why don’t we have this more often?’ each time you eat it…so tell me, what is your favourite summer meal?
- 1 loose leaf lettuce (in this case 1/2 a cos and 1/2 a red oak leaf)
- 100g baby spinach or other greens
- 500g small waxy potatoes
- 200g green beans
- 250g small tomatoes
- 185g tin chunk style tuna
- 4 eggs, medium to hard boiled depending on preference
- 100g kalamata olives
- 8 anchovy fillets
- a small handful each of basil and parsley
For the dressing:
- 80ml olive oil
- 1 Tbs lemon juice
- 1 Tbs red wine vinegar
- 1 clove garlic
For the dressing, crush garlic and whisk together with other ingredients. Season with salt and pepper to taste, noting that the olives and anchovies are quite salty so don’t over-season.
For the salad, trim the tops off the beans, and cook in boiling salted water until tender, followed by the whole, unpeeled potatoes in the same pot. As you drain them, rinse quickly in cold water. Halve or quarter potatoes depending on size.
Wash and dry greens, and lay over a large bowl or platter. Top with the room temperature potatoes and beans. Unless using cherry tomatoes, roughly chop tomatoes and scatter over top. Drain tuna, and roughly flake over other ingredients. Top with halved eggs, olives and anchovy fillets, spreading out evenly. Chop herbs and scatter over salad. Drizzle dressing over salad before serving.
Serves 4 as a main