Nicoise Salad

As the name implies, the Nicoise Salad originated along the Mediterranean in Nice, France. At first glance, this composed salad appears a bit fussy and time consuming to prepare. In reality, it can be pulled together very quickly with just a little planning.

The ingredients, as shown, are fairly traditional, but don’t miss this opportunity to use up recent leftovers you have on hand, as well. Canned tuna packed in oil and Nicoise olives are traditional choices for this classic salad. However, this version swaps out the canned variety for a lightly seared sushi-grade Ahi tuna instead. If you can’t find Nicoise olives in your area, feel free to use another black olive variety.

PrepAhead Tip: Prepare a dozen easy-to-peel hard-boiled eggs before the week begins by placing them in an Instant Pot® with 1 cup of water for 5 minutes on “high” (Manual setting). Allow the pressure to release naturally for 5 minutes before doing a quick release for any remaining pressure. Carefully drain the pot and transfer the eggs to an ice bath for 5 additional minutes. Remove from the ice bath and store in the refrigerator for several days until ready to use.

Timing Tip: Plan on approximately 15 minutes to heat the water and boil the potatoes. During that time, the green beans can be roasted to crisp-tender in about 10-12 minutes in a pre-heated oven as described below.

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Serves 4-6

Dressing Ingredients:

¼ c. extra virgin olive oil
2 T. fresh lemon juice
1 t. anchovy paste
1 t. Dijon mustard
1 t. herbes de Provence
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Salad Ingredients:

T. extra virgin olive oil, divided
8 oz. green beans, trimmed
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
8 oz. fingerling potatoes

Water, to cover
1 lbs. sushi-grade Ahi tuna
1 large lemon, cut in half
1 c. mixed salad greens
½ c. cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
3 large eggs, hard boiled and sliced
¼ c. nicoise olives

Place top oven rack in centre position and pre-heat oven to 425°F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a baking sheet and set aside.

Combine the dressing ingredients in a large glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Seal tightly and shake vigorously until thoroughly combined. Set aside.

Place the green beans on the prepared baking sheet and drizzle with one-half tablespoon olive oil. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste, and toss to combine before spreading into a single layer on the baking sheet without overcrowding. Set aside.

Place the potatoes in a large saucepan or pot and fill with water until they are covered by approximately 2 inches. Generously salt the water and bring to a boil over high heat for 8-10 minutes, or just until the potatoes are fork tender, but not mushy. Do not overcook. Drain the potatoes and set aside to cool.

When the oven is ready, place the baking sheet with the green beans inside for 5 minutes. Flip the beans and return to the oven for another 5-6 minutes, or just until crisp tender. Do not overcook. Remove from oven and set aside.

Spray a large grill pan with non-stick cooking spray (or brush with a neutral oil with a high smoke point) and set over medium-high heat. Brush the tuna steak on all sides with the remaining olive oil and lightly season with salt and black pepper, to taste.

Place the tuna steak and lemon halves on the hot grill pan. (If desired, press down on the tuna and lemon halves with a spatula to maximise the grill lines). Sear the tuna for approximately 2-3 minutes on one side before removing the lemon halves and flipping the tuna.

Repeat on the remaining side for another 2-3 minutes, then quickly sear each edge for another 1 minute per side. Remove from heat and set aside.

Combine the lettuce and tomatoes in a medium bowl and drizzle a small amount of the dressing on top. Toss to combine and set aside. 

Slice the potatoes into bite-sized pieces and drizzle a small amount of the dressing on top. Toss to combine. Lightly dress the green beans with some dressing, as well, and toss to combine. Set aside.

To assemble the salad, slice the seared tuna and arrange on a large serving platter. Fill in around it with the lightly dressed lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes, and green beans. Add the sliced hard-boiled eggs, olives, and grilled lemons to complete the composition. Season lightly with additional salt and black pepper, if desired. Serve immediately with the remaining dressing on the side. Enjoy!

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