This salad always makes me think of the South of France…sitting in a breezy outdoor cafe in Nice sipping a glass of Rosé, with toes still sandy from the beach. Ahh. But it’s 54º and rainy here on the Chesapeake. So we needed something to brighten our day and take us to warmer places.
This recipe may be a “faux pas” of authenticity; I have never found two identical recipes for Salade Niçoise. It seems there is great debate on what ingredients actually go into this dish. Some purists say no potatoes or green beans, ever! Some say the potatoes and green bean are the two ingredients inherent in a Salade Niçoise. Other recipes may include cucumbers, green peppers and artichoke hearts. But always there seem to be tomatoes, hard cooked eggs and anchovies or tuna. So here is a Galley Pirates version of this delectable Mediterranean salad.
1 large or two small fennel bulbs
1/4 red onion
6 small tomatoes
8 baby potatoes, cooked al denté
A handful of cooked green beans
2-3 hard boiled eggs
1/3 cup fava or lima beans, cooked or frozen and thawed
1/3 cup Niçoise olives
Anchovies (optional, of course!)
Cook the potatoes, green beans and eggs separately in boiling water. If your beans are too thick (they should be small, tender French beans) you may need to “julienne” them, making a long diagonal slice of each bean. Start setting the ingredients aside on a large serving platter.
Slice the fennel bulb crosswise, like an onion. Remove core. Slice the quarter red onion into thin slices. Quarter the cooked potatoes.
Quarter the tomatoes.
Quarter the eggs. Continue to lay all the ingredients, along with the olives and fava or lima beans, on a serving platter. Next mix up the Tarragon Vinaigrette.
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
2-3 sprigs fresh tarragon
Salt and pepper to taste
Press one clove of garlic into a small dish or cup. Add 1/2 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice and 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar. Mince 2-3 sprigs of fresh tarragon, about 1 1/2 tablespoons. Whisk all ingredients together. Add ground sea salt and pepper to taste.
Drizzle the dressing over the platter of salad ingredients. Then step back and take a look at that masterpiece. This is typically how a Niçoise Salad is severed at the table, with all the vegetables in nice neat little piles.
But some like it served all mixed in so the flavors are mingling before it’s brought to the table. If you are using anchovies, they should be the last ingredient added on top.
So, let us know your favorite Salade Niçoise! Potatoes or “Non”? Anchovies or “Non”? Tossed together or “Non”? Because “Oui!” We would love to hear from you!