On our recent honeymoon to Europe, we spent a few days in Nice, where O had spent time previously and fallen in love with the coastal town. From our bright little apartment up in the hills on the Mediterranean, I could understand just why he developed a fascination with the city. From the brightly painted buildings to the strangely amazing Italian food, the fresh fish markets to the boardwalk, I started mentally planning return week-long vacations to a villa on the shore…
But before our trained even pulled in to the station, I knew what I wanted from Nice: a salade niçoise. I’ve been eating Nicoise salads for years, obsessed over the seared tuna, the olives, the boiled potatoes, the.. wait, what? That’s not a Nicoise salad at all?! I stomped around Paris, eschewing salades niçoises without “real” tuna–seared, in other words–on them, only to find out that that’s a completely American interpretation to begin with! In Nice, Nicoise salads are simple, but probably not much like what you’ve had before.They typically include…
– high-quality canned or bottled anchovies or tuna, but not both
– olives, preferably Nicoise, obviously
– fava beans
– red bell pepper
– artichoke hearts
Notice any boiled potatoes on there? Haricots verts? Non? Real Nicoise salads don’t include any boiled veggies at all! I was taken aback to find diced red bell pepper and celery in my first Nicoise salad in Nice, but quickly learned to love the flavor combination.
There’s nothing wrong with a very Americanized Nicoise salad, and I still absolutely adore them, but an authentic dish looks a lot more like this!
If you can’t find fava beans, lima beans or shelled edamame will do. Feel free to add a hard-boiled egg on top, as well as artichoke hearts, if the spirit moves you. Also feel free to omit any veggies for which you don’t particularly care. I abhor celery, oddly enough, so I always leave it off!
- 3-4 leaves a few handfuls lettuce
- 1 tomato sliced into 1/8s
- ½ red bell pepper diced
- 2 tablespoons chopped cucumber
- 2 tablespoons fava beans or lima beans or edamame if you can't find fava beans
- 1 tbsp a tablespoon or two of olives preferably Nicoise, but kalamata or dry-cured work, as well
- 5 anchovy filets or half a can of good-quality tuna
- 1 small cloves garlic chopped fine
- 1 teaspoon mustard
- 1 ½ teaspoons white wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp light olive oil or salad oil vegetable oil, etc, to make 1/4 cup dressing
- 1-2 tbsp fresh herbs such as parsley, basil, or tarragon, chopped, to taste, optional
- 1 tsp sea salt
- Sprinkle sea salt on the tomatoes and let drain in a colander while you prepare the rest of the salad.
- To make the vinaigrette: Sprinkle a bit of sea salt over chopped garlic and mash into a paste with the back of a fork or a mortar and pestle. Set aside.
- In a handled measuring cup, whisk together vinegar and mustard. Then, whilst whisking continuously, slowly drizzle in oil, a few drops at a time, until perfectly incorporated. Continue to drizzle in oil until you have about 1/4 cup salad dressing. Stir in garlic-salt paste. Taste, then add salt and fresh herbs to taste.
Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. Result will be the weight of one serving.