Sometimes its the simplest of salads that taste the best. This classic Niçoise salad is a case in point. The combination of tuna, salty anchovies and hard-boiled eggs with crisp green salad leaves, green beans and ripe tomatoes is near perfect. Add a light dressing and you have the perfect main meal summer salad.
- Classic salad
- Summer salad
- Family favourite
- Easy entertaining
- Alfresco dining
We seem to be having a bit of a revival of classic salads in our house this summer. This recipe holds particular memories for me but not for its flavour. It was the very first recipe I typed into a computer when I was Deputy Cookery Editor working on Woman’s Realm back in the late 80’s. I’m not sure where I went wrong but I ended up with loads of copies of the recipe on my computer and never seemed to be able to delete them. When I started at Women’s Realm a couple of years earlier, I had a portable typewriter in the kitchen to type up my recipes. After testing they would be typed properly by the department secretary before being passed on to the art department. Then to the subs followed by the typesetters. It was quite a laborious method and at each stage the recipes came back to us for checking. Women’s Realm was the first of IPC Magazines’ weekly publications to go computerised. At that time only one monthly magazine was working on computers and the editing and layout software was all very new. It was the start of a process that revolutionised magazine production and sadly led eventually to the loss of many of the editorial and other jobs along the way.
I might have written my first version of Niçoise salad nearly 30 years ago and I haven’t changed it much since then. But it is still a dish fit for any table today. It is perfect for casual entertaining. Try tucking in for a lunch with a friend in the garden with a glass of something chilled. Trust me, it’s pretty hard to beat. Back then fresh tuna was expensive and hard to come by but you could make this salad with pan-fried fresh tuna if you like. To be honest I have never been a huge fan of fresh tuna and prefer to make it with tinned. My lads tend to think every meal should have a good helping of carbs, and you can add some boiled or steamed potatoes to the salad. Add them while still hot if you like, or prepare ahead and add them cold. Both ways are delicious, but if you don’t want to go to the trouble, some chunks of crusty bread and butter will do the trick just as well.
- 3 free-range eggs
- 50 g green beans trimmed
- 2 x 160g can line caught tuna steak in olive oil or spring water drained
- 1 cos or romaine lettuce washed
- 4 tomatoes quartered
- 16 black olives
- 50 g can anchovies drained
for the dressing
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ tsp dried oregano
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Place the eggs into a saucepan of boiling water and return to the boil. Boil for 9-10 minutes.
- Drain and crack the shells then run under cold water for a few minutes. This will prevent a black ring forming around the yolk. Once cold shell and cut into quarters.
- Meanwhile, blanch the beans in boiling water for 2 minutes, until just tender but still with a little crunch. Drain, rinse in cold water and drain again.
- Leave the small centre leaves of the lettuce whole and tear the remainder into three or four pieces
- Arrange on individual plates or one large serving platter. Arrange the beans, tomatoes, eggs, olives and anchovies on top. Finish with chunks of tuna.
- Whisk the ingredients for the dressing together. Drizzle over the French dressing and serve.
Nutrition information is approximate and is meant as a guideline only. (It does not include seasoning with salt and pepper.)