How to Make a True Nicoise Salad
Giuseppina Mabilia, who blends a fusion of tastes from Italy and Provence at her cooking school Venise en Provence shares this recipe for a “true” Niçoise salad. is shared by Don’t be fooled by salads that pretend to be Niçoise. Here, is what she has to say…
When you go to a restaurant and ask for a Niçoise salad, they will probably serve you something with green beans, potatoes, tuna and anchovies and salad and tomatoes. This is a recipe that comes from the great French chef Escoffier and can make for a nice salad but has nothing to do with the real recipe.
An authentic Niçoise is made with raw vegetables; only the eggs are cooked. You have anchovies or tuna, never the two. However, as tuna is expensive and this is a popular dish you might prefer to use anchovies unless you do not like them. I use anchovies in salt and clean them myself leaving the skin as it seems to me they taste better that way.
In the photo, you see some toasted bread which does not appear in the recipe. However, in Nice bread from the day before (roughly cut) might accompany the salad. Soaking in the sauce the bread impregnates of all the taste of olive oil and onion and tomato. A delight!
Another particularity is that you do not need a vinaigrette with this salad that is ” built” with layers and, in the end, you will have your sauce in the bottom of the dish.
Take your time.
- 6 medium Tomatoes ripe but firm
- 1 head Lettuce Boston bib works well
- 1 medium White Onion or a bunch of spring onions
- 1 Cucumber
- 1 Green pepper optional
- 3/4 cup (150g) Fresh fava beans or 6 small artichokes
- 6 large Eggs
- 1/2 cup (100g) Small black olives Italian "Taggiasca" or French Nicoise
- 12 fillets Anchovies
- 6 basil leaves
- 8 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 1 Lemon for the artichokes
- Cook the eggs: put them in a pan and cover with water, cook 6 minutes from the boil.
- Cool in fresh water and peel.
- Wash all the vegetables, dry the lettuce after washing it.
- If you have anchovies in salt, wash them under running water, open them and clean the entrails. Reserve on a paper to dry them.
- Cut the onion in thin slices.
- Cut the tomatoes in quarters, peel the cucumber and cut into slices.
- If you are using artichokes you have to take off the though outer leaves and cut off the tops. Then cut into thin slices and put in a bowl with water and lemon, otherwise they'll oxidate.
- If you are using fava beans remove from the pod, if they are very fresh you don't need to peel the beans as the skin will be very thin, or peel them if the skin is thick.
- Put the beans in a bowl with some salt, pepper and olive oil.
- Now it's time to start the layers: arrange the salad leaves in a large plate, just to cover the border, then lay the tomatoes on the bottom, spread the onions all over and salt them for the first time. Wait 5 minutes, then add a pinch of salt again.
- Continue adding the rest of the ingredients trying to make the plate beautiful.
- At the end, add the basil leaves roughly chopped with your fingers (don't use a knife for this), add some salt and the olive oil.