Nicoise means the inhabitant of city Nice and as an extension Salad Nicoise is literally salad of Nice. It is one of the original composed salads and one of my favorites too. Here is my version of the same.
I first had Salad Nicoise while I was in college, in one of the cafes nearby. A gorgeous looking salad made to my table but unfortunately, the taste didn’t match up to the looks. It almost put me off ordering salads at that time. Fast forward to a decade and I had Salad Nicoise made by a French chef at a popup and OMG it blew up my mind. That’s when I really understood why the fuss around the salad.
I very rarely make the standard salads at home. Salads like the greek salad or caesar salad are hardly fond on my dinner table, primary because I am a very intuitive person when it comes to making salads. See what is in the fridge, make a dressing, put it together and bingo. But there are a few salads for which I make an exception. Salad Nicoise is one of them and the other is caprese salad! God, I love the freshness and simplicity of that salad too.
The reason I love Salad Nicoise is that it really is the first salad that taught me an art of composed salad. On how to plate a salad which is not just mixed. To play with elements and placement, with colors and textures. It taught me that there is more to plating salads that random placements. That even a mixed salad is actually a controlled mess.
Anyways, as usual, I digress! Here is the recipe for you. It is my version of Salad Nicoise. And I am not really calling it authentic. So if you feel this isn’t what it should just ignore the post. Yes, sometimes these warnings are required these days. But I do hope you will try this out because it really is delicious.
Salad Nicoise -The Original Composed Salad
- 500 gm baby potatoes sliced into halves
- 2 tbsp dry white wine
- 200 gm haricot beans trimmed
- 4 large eggs
- 8-10 Cherry Tomatoes halved or quartered
- 1 cup lettuce roughly torn
- 200 gm canned tuna drained
- 1/2 cup olives
For the dressing
- 2 tbsp Dijon Mustard
- 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4-5 shallot finely chopped
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- freshly ground pepper
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
- Boil the sliced potatoes in salted water till tender and boiled. Drain and drizzle with wine. Set aside for cooling.
- Boil the eggs to your liking, for this salad I like them boiled till 8mins. Peel and set aisde.
- In a seperate pan, boil haricot beans for 4-5 minutes till just done. Transfer to a ice bath so that they don't loose color.
- To make the dressing - whisk the vinegar, shallot, mustard, thyme, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Whisk in the olive oil in a slow, steady stream until emulsified. You can also use a empty jam jar and shake it well for it to get emulsified
- In seperate bowls, toss tomatoes, potatoes in the dressing. Mix very gently, specially the tomatoes so that they don't get squished.
- To assemble the salad, Divide the lettuce among 4 plates. Next arrange the potatoes, beans, hard-cooked eggs, tomatoes and tuna on top in a circular fashion. Add the left over dressing back to the jar and drizzle on top of the salad. Place olives in the corner and serve.