Comments: Salade Niçoise: the non-tacky-touristy-version


I'm sure this post will stir up controversy about the "right" way to do a tuna nicoise salad.

I like the tuna steaks idea and the use of fava beans, though I admit that I usually look forward to the skinny blanched haricot vert.

Only one question - no hard boiled egg or black olive?

OK, let me be the first to point out you mentioned why the egg was left out.

In the wods of Rosanne Rosanna Danna - "Never mind."

My 1983 Larousse does in fact have salade niçoise. Potatoes and green beans with vinaigrette, then add olives, anchovies, capers and tomatoes. No rice, you'll be glad to hear. But no tuna either, which is fair enough because from memory Waverley Root didn't put tuna in his either. Whatever. Salads are what you make of them, and I for one am not going to turn up my nose at a good one, whatever it's called.

Rice would indeed be a disgusting trick in a salade nicoise.

This looks fantastic, we ate these so much last summer we kind of overdid it and haven't wanted one since, but two discoveries we made that i'll pass on:

1) a tbsp or two finely minced basil strewn carelessly about is a lovely and unexpected note of freshness that plays perfectly against the tuna and anchovies.

2) GOOD canned tuna packed in olive oil can be a revelation in this salad. i just indulged in a tuna tasting on me blog and man what a difference there is in a good tinned tuna.

Hmmm, anchovies on salad is such a French thing. And I love it! Why should we torture ourselves eating salad when salad can encompass such an exciting range of flavors? The worst sin is a dull salad. Salads are capable of packing a punch if only people didn't feel the need to punish themselves with it. For me, salad is pure enjoyment if you treat it that way! Okay, enough philosophizing....your salad is inspirational.

Try this recipe taught to me by a vicious old French chef; 1 buffalo tomato sliced perpendicular to the core and fanned out in a circle to cover the plate;put a piece of anchovy and fresh basil on each tom slice, then spread/sprinkle a small tin of tuna in pieces over all, same again with a handfull of chopped spring onions, then 1/2 doz black or purple pitted moist olives, finally a just set hard boiled egg is irregularly sliced to give colour and beauty. Then liberally apply a sharp dressing; sea salt ground with garlic clove to which Dijon is added until creamy then red wine vinegar and finally a good olive oil. Extras can be artichokes, capers and french beans but avoid spuds, peppers and beans. The salad is arranged not tossed. it's good, the flavour hit is between the tom and tuna and the garlic, anchovy and olive.

Simon that sounds lovely, especially at the moment on a cold January day. My mouth is watering at the thought of a juicy ripe tomato big enough to fan a plate...!

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