I <3 Niçoise

26 May

The Nicoise Salad is a fave of mine – I can eat it for days on end because not only is it delicious, filling without the guilt and colourful, but it adheres to the Mediterranean diet that is low-fat (or of healthy fat), a source of high quality, lean protein, and even supplies Omega-3 fatty acids. A bit of background here, it’s a specialty of the Côte d’Azur and named for the city of Nice.

Best place in Vancouver (I welcome your suggestions) and where I got hooked on it: Les Faux Bourgeois

This is my staple recipe, but feel free to sub tuna in olive oil with seared Ahi, or grilled chicken,  or cherry tomatoes for the larger variety. Haricot verts can be found in the frozen section at the Gourmet Warehouse and maybe Whole Foods.  There’s also a pasta version, if you want to serve it potluck style.

Bon Appétit!

Salade Niçoise

(courtesy of my fave recipe site, norecipes)

for master dressing

  • 1/2 C good quality olive oil
  • 1/4 C champagne vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp hot sweet mustard
  • 1/2 tsp whole grain mustard
  • 1 Tbs minced shallots
  • 1 tsp kosher salt (less if you use regular salt)
  • pepper to taste

for roasted red pepper

  • 1 red bell pepper
  • plastic bag
  • olive oil
  • oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste

for potatoes

  • 2 medium yukon gold potatoes
  • 3 Tbs master dressing
  • 1 Tbs minced parsley

for haricots vert

  • 1/2 lbs haricots vert
  • 2 Tbs master dressing

for tomatoes

  • 2 small vine ripened tomatoes cut into wedges
  • red onion thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbs capers
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

for salad

  • 1 head of romaine lettuce (or prewashed greens)
  • 2 medium boiled eggs peeled and quartered
  • Niçoise olives
  • 1 tsp minced fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp minced fresh oregano
  • 1 can Italian tuna in olive oil
  • 1 can anchovies (optional)

To make the dressing just whisk all the ingredients for the master dressing together. Other things will get added to this base as we season each item.

For the roasted peppers, quarter and core the pepper then put it right under a broiler with the skin side up, until it is completely charred on that side (it’s okay if there’s a little red still showing). Transfer the peppers into a plastic bag and seal it. The steam helps loosen the skins and when the peppers have cooled, you should be able to remove the skin with no difficulty. Once you’ve peeled them, put them back in the bag and drizzle enough olive oil on them to coat, then toss them with the oregano salt and pepper. This can be made in advance

For the potatoes, boil them in well salted water until you can just barely pass a fork through them (they should still be a little firm). Remove them from the water and allow them to cool enough to handle. Slice them into cubes then toss them with 3 Tbs of dressing and parsley. Add salt and pepper as needed and set aside. This can be made in advance

For the haricots vert, return the potato water to a boil and add more salt (it should taste like the ocean). Prepare an ice bath by filling a bowl with water and ice cubes. Add the haricots vert and boil until they’re bright green and tender, but they still have a bit of crunch (a minute or two, longer if you’re using older beans). Drain and put them into the ice bath to “shock” them, this should make them turn a very vibrant green color. You don’t want to dress these too early since the vinegar will make them discolor. If you’re doing this in advance, wrap them and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve them.

For the tomatoes, toss them with the onions and capers along with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.

To assemble the salad, add the oregano and thyme to the master dressing and toss the whole lettuce leaves in enough dressing to coat each leaf. Lay them down on a serving platter then arrange the roasted peppers, potatoes, haricots vert, boiled eggs, Niçoise olives, tuna and anchovies around the plate.

Serve the Niçoise Salad with a crisp, dry white wine like a Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris.

Pasta Salad Niçoise 

(from the GastronomersGuide

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 12 ounces cavatappi (a corkscrew-shaped pasta, use elbow macaroni, or any pasta but long noodle kind)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • coarse sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 6-ounce cans solid white tuna in olive oil, drained
  • 1 red bell pepper, trimmed and cut into 1-inch slivers
  • 1/3 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley

Make garlic oil by heating 2 tablespoons oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Let cool.

To a pot of rapidly boiling, liberally salted water, add green beans. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl and rinse with cold water. Drain.

Cook pasta in the same pot until al dente, a few minutes short of package directions. Drain.

In a large bowl make vinaigrette by combining garlic oil, 4 tablespoons oil, mustard, lemon juice, lemon zest, vinegar, salt, and pepper; whisk well. Add pasta, beans, bell pepper, tuna, olives, and capers. Toss gently to coat all ingredients with vinaigrette. Yield: 6 servings.

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2 Responses to “I <3 Niçoise”

  1. Kris May 26, 2011 at 4:13 PM #

    Funny I always think of you anytime I see this on a menu. This and the Cobb are my favorite body friendly salads.

    • nansie May 26, 2011 at 8:47 PM #

      Are you saying that I’m fishy? Lol =) I’ll take that as a compliment! Mmm Cobb salad – good protein content too…. my other salad obsession is Greek. I can eat that for days on end.

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