“Love this salad! I usually compose individual plates when I’m making this — more work, but worth doing. Good stuff — thanks.” ~John
*This Niçoise salad recipe is written in partnership with Genova Seafood®
I think every cook should know how to throw a Niçoise salad (pronounced nee-swaz) together. In fact, if you’ve got a reasonably well stocked kitchen, you probably have most if not all of the ingredients right there in your pantry and fridge. It makes an impromptu dinner that you can customize to any season, and it’s an eye-popping centerpiece when you want to impress. Everybody from Martha Stewart to Gwyneth Paltrow has put their spin on it… mine dials up the color with purple fingerling potatoes, bright heirloom radishes, fire engine red Little Beak peppers, (I found those at my supermarket’s olive bar!) and golden cherry tomatoes. Genova wild caught albacore tuna anchors it all.
Niçoise Salad is an example of a composed salad
That just means the ingredients are artfully arranged instead of tossed. I’m a huge fan of the technique, I think it makes a salad so beautiful and so much more enticing. You can do this on a large platter or in a wide shallow bowl. (You can also create individual salad plates.) The presentation is gorgeous, and makes a particularly good choice for entertaining ~ perfect for a spring holiday table, a book club luncheon, or a Mother’s Day brunch. A lot of the salads I do here on the blog are composed salads, and it’s a fun technique to play with. You can read more about it and see examples in my 7 Tips for Show Stopping Salads.
Of course the highlight of any Niçoise salad is the tuna. But not just any tuna…it should be top quality tuna in olive oil for the best flavor and texture. The Europeans have been enjoying premium canned tuna for generations, in fact it’s considered a luxury food over there, but we Americans are a little late getting the memo.
Genova tuna has a fresh, delicate flavor with zero fishy odor or canned taste. If you have any members of your family who turn their noses up at tuna, try Genova, it converted my daughter, and she was a tough one! I love the new flip top cans, too, because I don’t even have to haul out the can opener when I need a mid-day protein boost.
more meals made with a can of tuna!
- Tunapeño Poppers
- Tuna and White Bean Salad
- Spaghetti Peperonata with Tuna and Olives
- Mediterranean Pasta Salad with Tuna
- Mediterranean Orzo Salad with Tuna
- Sheet Pan Tuna Melts
- 1 small head of crisp lettuce, your choice, rinsed, dried, and chopped
- 3 Tbsp fresh tarragon leaves
- 3 Tbsp fresh dill, chopped
- 1 cup white beans, either navy or cannellini, drained and rinsed
- 1 Persian cucumber, thinly sliced
- handful baby carrots, raw
- 1 cup baby purple potatoes, cooked and halved
- 1 cup yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
- about 6 baby radishes
- handful green beans, preferably French, lightly steamed
- 2-3 hard cooked eggs, halved
- 1/3 cup Bird Beak peppers
- 1/3 cup black olives, your choice, I used oil cured
- 6 ounces tuna canned in olive oil
- 2 Tbsp capers
- Whisk together the dressing ingredients and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add more lemon juice if you like.
- Put the lettuce in a wide shallow salad bowl or platter and arrange the tarragon leaves over the lettuce.
- Toss the beans with a little of the dressing, and some of the fresh dill. Pile the beans into a heap on the edge of the salad, leaving the center free for the tuna.
- Arrange the cucumber slices and carrots in little piles next to the beans.
- Toss the potatoes with a little of the dressing and dill, and add them to the salad. Arrange the tomatoes, radishes, green beans, eggs, peppers, and olives in a similar manner all around the edge of the platter.
- Put the tuna in the center of the salad and top with the capers. Scatter the fresh dill over all.
- Drizzle with the dressing just before serving. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Please don’t stress over exact amounts…my measurements are just guidelines, fill your platter with the ingredients in any way you see fit and it will be delicious!
- Other possible Nicoise salad ingredients are anchovies, artichokes, red onion, asparagus, bell peppers, marinated mushrooms, marinated feta or mozarella cheese, watercress, basil, etc.