Nicoise Salad

I am a perennial “salad” eater.  Not “salad” as in Eddie Murphy’s (when he was still funny and minced around in a purple leather suit – no joke!) take on women he dated who would say “Oh, I’ll just have a salad and a glass of water.” while their stomach made obscene rumbling noises, then they would say “I don’t know why my stomach is making those noises – it’s so embarrassing.”  And he would sneer “Cause your hungry b***h!”

I mean Salad – capital S.  Ottolenghi type salads.  Served in flat plates.  With different textures to titillated my taste buds.  Seasoned and dressed well.  With a protein or a carb thrown in there to keep me going.  It can take me and hour to get through one of my salads.  More often than not because I make it to serve at least three but it ends up just being me who gobbles it all down.  What?  It’s just a salad!  See how I am making that work for me there? : )

I don’t often see Nicoise on menus these days.  I guess it’s a bit passé – like putting “sun-dried tomatoes” on a menu – thank goodness that phase has passed!  The sun-dried tomato one I mean.

In my opinion you need 6 elements for a salad to qualify as a Nicoise; tuna, olives, potatoes, green beans, eggs and tomatoes.  You can add salad or not, be creative with the herbs but a Nicoise needs those 6 building blocks.

Here is my take on this great classic.

Nicoise Salad
2 eggs – just barely hard-boiled
a handful of green beans, topped – tailed and halved
4 small waxy potatoes or new potatoes
1/2 a head lettuce (you can easily leave this out, I just like having another layer – visually and for taste)
8 kalamata olives (or nicoise if you find them)
10 or so cherry tomatoes, halved
1 teaspoon chives finely chopped
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
4 teaspoons olive oil
salt and pepper

1. Boil the potatoes until done (10-15 minutes depending on the potatoes)
2. Blanch the green beans for 3-5 minutes until just cooked but they still retain a bite.
3. Dissolve the mustard in the vinegar, add the olive oil and make an emulsion. Throw in the chives.
4. On a low plate, scatter the leaves and the rest of the ingredients. Salt the potatoes, eggs and tomatoes on a board. Then layer the ingredients and then drizzle with dressing.


    • says

      Really? There was an ad? How weird! Not on my side! I meant to tell you that three tier chocolate cake with the pink icing looked amazing!

      Sent from my iPhone

      • says

        I don’t see ads (except for your Food Buzz one) while on the website. But if I access with my iphone, I get ads specific to my area (usually local restaurants), but this was for the Special K diet challenge and I thought it was funny b/c of your diet comment.

        You have to try the cake – I know I made it pink and all (she loves pink!), but you can ice it any way you want…it’s super easy and nice and light.

  1. Paulina says

    you’re absolutely right about the salad concept, it’s not just iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber: it’s far more versatile and imaginative creation
    by the way mentioning Yotam Ottolenghi, who always look suspicious when asking how am i doing? i had tuna and green beans,chili and tarragon salad made by Sami, my new Head Chef ,apart from the fact he’s the general head chef

  2. says

    Why is he suspicious? I actually worked with Sami for a day – before they realized it was my first time in a professional kitchen ; )))) His salads are totally amazing! When are you going to come visit me in Berlin?

    • Paulina says

      They watch (observe) me all the time! I try to do my best, but you know me, never satisfied and i worry that i don’t do my job as i’m expected.
      My brother is coming tomorrow (sunday), and i will have him for two weeks. So maybe in september?

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