François de MélogueProvencal RecipesSaladTaste: Food & Drink

Make the Perfect Salade Niçoise

A debate is raging over what constitutes a “correct” salade Niçoise. To the purists, the rules are clear: no vinegar, no lettuce, no fresh tuna, and no boiled vegetables, like potatoes or green beans. If you add any of these, you will be labelled as a heretic and sent to hell for your sins. To everyone else, any additions are fair game. And so the war rages on between the classicists and the non-conformists.

Like many traditional recipes from Provence, and in this case the city of Nice, this salad came from humble beginnings. Today, salade Niçoise is served around the world, but many of these salads have little to do with traditional roots. The Niçoise salad began appearing on menus in the late 1800s after Nice finally became part of France. Discover the thoughts that Renee Graglia, ambassador of cuisine Nissarde, and former mayor Jacques Médecin have on this subject.

Make Perfect Salade Niçoise

Salade Niçoise

Chef François de MélogueChef François de Mélogue
My version of this meal-sized salad from Nice for the purists and for the rest of us.
Prep Time 10 mins
Course Lunch Dish, Salad
Cuisine French, Nicoise
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
 
 

  • 4 Ripe Tomatoes sliced
  • Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper seeded and cut into thin strips
  • 8 Radishes trimmed and thinly sliced into rounds
  • 1 Seedless Cucumber peeled and thinly sliced into rounds
  • 8 Oil-packed Anchovies
  • 8 oz Canned Tuna packed in olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Pitted Niçoise or Kalamata Olives
  • 10 Fresh Basil Leaves shredded
  • 4 Hardboiled Eggs peeled and cut in half
  • 1/4 cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Romaine Hearts bottoms trimmed and separated into leaves
  • 8 New or small Waxy Potatoes boiled until tender and cooled
  • 24 Green Beans blanched until crisp-tender and cooled
  • 1 cup Celery chopped
  • 1/2 cup Fava Beans shucked and blanched
  • 4 Artichoke Hearts cooked and cut into 4

Instructions
 

  • Arrange the tomatoes on a large platter. Season them with salt and pepper to taste. Over the tomatoes, arrange the bell pepper, radishes, cucumber, anchovies, tuna with the oil, olives, and basil in that order. Decoratively arrange the hardboiled eggs around the salad and drizzle with the olive oil.
  • Now that you have made a purist’s version of Salade Niçoise, to make it as you would like, divide the romaine, potatoes, green beans, celery, fava beans, and artichokes onto 4 plates. Serve with the purist’s version as an optional topping.

Notes

TIP: I’ll leave you with two last thoughts: It’s virtually impossible to mess this salad up, and rules are meant to be broken. Add whatever you’d like to it—it will be fantastic no matter what.
Keyword Anchovies, Eggs, Potatoes, Salad, Tuna
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

This recipe appears in French Cooking for Beginners, which includes chapters on Parisian Home Cooking 101, Breakfast & Eggs, Main Courses and Desserts. The first section, Cuisine à la Maison, provides a list of essential ingredients found in a French pantry. There are also details on key equipment and a quick guide to French wines. The other chapters contain delicious recipes arranged in an easy to read fashion along with cooking tips. Antidotes from tasty memories are sprinkled liberally like icing sugar. Here is the review of this cookbook.

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Chef François de Mélogue

Chef François de Mélogue

François de Mélogue grew up in a very French household in Chicago. His earliest attempts at cookery began with the filleting of his sister’s goldfish at age two and a braised rabbit dish made with his pet rabbits by age seven. He eventually stopped cooking his pets and went to the highly esteemed New England Culinary Institute where he graduated top of his class in 1985.

Chef François de Mélogue has over 30 years of cross-cultural culinary experience and brings an impressive culinary history and a unique Mediterranean cooking style. After graduating top of his class from the notable New England Culinary Institute, Chef François began his career in a number of highly acclaimed kitchens across the country, including Chef Louis Szathmary’s restaurant The Bakery in Chicago, Old Drovers Inn, a Relais and Chateaux property in New York and Joel Robuchon Gastronomie restaurant in Paris, before opening award-winning restaurant Pili Pili in his hometown of Chicago, rated in the Top Ten new restaurants in the World by Food and Wine magazine in 2003.

While staging with Robuchon, Chef François began to shape his personal culinary philosophy of “Cuisine Actuelle,” which showcases the natural flavor in the ingredients used to create his dishes. In line with his belief that food should be prepared without unnecessary distractions or alterations, François creates honest, healthy and delicious cuisine that is approachable and always delightful. Chef François specializes in simply prepared Southern French-inspired cuisine enhanced by his appreciation and knowledge of fine wine, craft beer, charcuterie and cheese. He is a fervent student and strong advocate of regional French cuisines, specifically the rustic cuisines of Lyon and Provence. With wife Lisa, they conduct personalized, insider gastronomic tours of Burgundy/Lyon, Provence and the Pacific Northwest.

Chef François resides in Vancouver, Washington with his wife Lisa and seven-year-old son Beaumont, who has proclaimed himself the family saucier. He has written his first cookbook about Provence, entitled Cuisine of the Sun: A Ray of Sunshine on Your Plate, and works for Foods in Season, America’s foremost foraging company specializing in hyper-seasonal, wild foraged and fished foods from the Pacific Northwest.

Chef François' latest publication French Cooking for Beginners: 75+ Classic Recipes to Cook Like a Parisian takes you on a culinary journey well beyond the streets of Paris.

Follow his blog Pistou and Pastis and Simple French Cooking both websites are filled with delicious recipes and beautiful photos.

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