Did you ever notice that a lot of people say they are going to make or have a nice salad? “I’ll bring a nice salad” to the party, or “I made a nice salad for dinner”. It’s not just a salad but a nice salad. I wonder where that came from, could it be Salad Niçoise? Originating in Nice, France I would not be surprised if this were true. An Americanized version of Nice, France, morphing into “Nice salad” I can see it now. I tried to do a little research on “nice salad” but it came up with nothing, perhaps it is just a Connecticut thing. Have you ever heard of a nice salad where you are from?
While we’re going into fall here in New England and the leaves are changing, I still crave salads to get me through the winter months. This salad is always a standby. It’s filling, a classic, and one that I can always rely on throughout the year because the ingredients are always on the grocery store shelves around here. So, whether you’re looking for a summery brunch dish or a just singing the winter salad blues, this is a nice salad (har har) that you can rely on.
When I set out to make this recipe I noticed there were a lot of variations on it, as is true of many things. However, this tried and true classic has a lot. For my version I tried to stay as classic as possible, while still pulling out new things that appealed to me – in other words, I made it my own yet again. I am always doing this, trying to keep to a classic, but then changing things, tisk tisk. If you are interested in finding out more about the traditional Salad Nicoise, check out the Regions of France website, Nicoise Salad.
A few standouts to me were inclusion of anchovies to pack a punch with our fatty fish and get some additional Omega-3’s in there for us. Some people are going to omit the anchovies immediately without a second thought, I would say give it a try if you can. You will hardly notice them, especially if you chop them up and add them as a topping.
The lettuce, I wanted to make sure we had a base of lettuce here, I thought the salad was better and more substantial with that, and who doesn’t love using their favorite salad spinner. I went with romaine because I loved the extra crunch, I thought it paired well with the crunch from the green beans, which I always lean towards under cooking myself – I just don’t like limp green beans.
I kept the ingredients separate to dress because I liked how it looked for presentation, though in some recipes the main ingredients were mixed together, you have my permission to experiment. My concept would also would allow for a buffet style, and folks to omit certain ingredients if they wanted to, I always try to be cognizant of that.
I went with my traditional (which you will soon learn if you become an active visitor here) light or skipjack tuna, because of the lower mercury content. This makes for a waterier look and texture, but I think the benefits outweigh the negatives in this case. I also dressed the tuna in this recipe, traditionally you would leave it plain. To me, it needed a little something and this dressing was it. Speaking of the dressing, I am a big fan of honey and thought it smoothed out the dressing nicely, I may have to use this one in other places as we continue our journey!
So, here we go, our first recipe here at Eating for Mental Wellness from the French Riviera, how very Mediterranean diet of us! Also, my first take at food photography!Print
A delicious and filling salad that you can whip up for brunch or dinner. This French Riviera dish is sure to please a crowd looking for a Mediterranean salad fix!
- Prep Time: 25
- Cook Time: 40
- Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
- Yield: 6 1x
- Category: Salad
- Method: Stovetop, By hand
- Cuisine: Mediterranean, French
For the dressing:
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
For the salad:
- 1 head of romaine, large, chopped
- 1 pound green beans, trimmed and halved
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 pound baby red potatoes, quartered
- 6 eggs
- 2 5 ounces cans of tuna, packed in water
- 1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted, sliced in half
- 12 anchovy, rinsed, diced
- Sea salt
- Fresh ground pepper
For the dressing
- Whisk together ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
For the salad
- Place the eggs in a small pot, fill with water and a splash of vinegar. Bring to a simmer for 13 minutes. Then place the eggs in an ice bath to cool. While this is happening…
- Place in pot and cover with water and 1 T of salt. Move the potatoes to the stove and bring to a boil. Boil until tender (think potato salad), typically 10-15 minutes. Remove the potatoes from the water. Place the potatoes in a bowl. While the potatoes are boiling…
- In another pot boil water and add the green beans for 2-4 minutes until tender but you still want some bite. Strain the green beans. Place in a bowl.
- Drain the tuna and place in a bowl.
- Peel the eggs and half them.
- You may need to whisk your dressing again if it separated.
- Dress each main ingredient individually, so, dress the potatoes, then dress the green beans, tuna, and tomatoes (I used a variety pack, delicious!). Note: we are not dressing the romaine.
- To assemble the salad take your plate or large bowl (I opted for a large bowl) and put a small bed of romaine. Add to that in separate piles your ingredients: green beans, tuna, tomatoes, and potatoes. Sprinkle or pile olives and anchovies. Add a drizzle of dressing over the top
- Salt and pepper as you see fit, I went light. Serve immediately.
- I used light tuna in my recipe but albacore tuna would provide a more substantial look to your salad. I just use light tuna for the lower mercury content, but it does make it more watery.
Keywords: romaine, eggs, tuna, sardines