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.

8 Responses to Nicoise Salad

  1. Anna says:

    I luuuuuuuuuv Nicoise Salad, yours looks stunning.

  2. Giulia says:

    This reminds me of our trip to Nice! I also had to laugh because it appeared right under a diet challenge ad!

    • 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

      • Giulia 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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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