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, Nice, this salad came from humble beginnings. Today, salade Niçoise is served worldwide, 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.
The Cuisine Nissarde label was established in 1995 by Cercle de la Capelina d’Or. Madame Renee Graglia was the organization’s president at the time. Today, Nice Tourism awards the label to restaurants that meet several criteria, including cooking three traditional recipes and using local products. Read more here.
- 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
- 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 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.
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.