My salade Niçoise

Joined Oct 2, 2010
My Salade Niçoise

I titled this thread "My" salade Niçoise to avoid a never ending discussion what should and should not be in it. This is a classic French dish that sings summer on all levels. A divine composition, originating from the region of Nice (pronounce "niece"). Niçoise (pronounce niece-wahz, yeah, drop the end-e) means simply "from Nice".

- salad; I use fresh lettuce which has the crunch and the taste and yells "summertime" to me. Please don't use iceberg for once. Wash and drape some large leaves on the bottom of your plate(s), just enough to cover the whole plate.

- potato; use waxy potatoes. Peel, half and boil them. Cool them; if necessary hold them under cold water. Cut into nice chunks.

- haricots aka green beans; look for thin ones. Cut both ends off. Bring ample slightly salted water to a boil first and only then add the beans. Boil without a lid for around 6-8 minutes; keep them al dente but just done, not halfdone crunchy which ruins the taste. Drain and cool asap in icewater or under a running tap of cold water; this will preserve the green color. (BTW, don't let anyone tell you that haricots are boiled in 3 minutes!)

- tomatoes; I prefer to use mini tomatoes, halved or quartered. Use seasonal peeled Coeur-de-boeuf (ox -heart) tomatoes if you like.

- distribute potato, haricots and tomatoes nonchalantly over the salad. Remember, less is more!

- tuna; it has to be canned tuna. Break in chunks with your hands and put in the middle of the dish.

- boil eggs; 8 minutes, then cool asap under running tap water. Peel and quarter. Add to the dish.

- anchovis; this is a must. Drape some fillets over the salad.

- black olives; also a must, no green ones, please. Buy the ones with the stones still inside, they are the best. Add some to the salad.

- dressing; it has to be garlicky. I use my trusted vinaigrette salée; 3 heaped tbsp of mayo, 1 tbsp. of tarragon vinegar, 2 tbsp. of cold water. Use a whisk to combine. Add ultra finely chopped fresh garlic (no dried junk!). You could also crush the garlic. Drizzle a little over the salad, serve the rest aside. This dressing is a bit unusual but very tasty and more stable than a classic vinaigrette which is mostly used; a combo of 3 parts oil, 1 part vinegar, s&p and of course, garlic. It's up to you.

Some add capers but I don't. Anyway, if I should add capers, it would be salted ones only, which are very difficult to find over here. Some also add slices of small artichokes, canned or fresh. I don't. Basically, a salade Niçoise should have all items on board that I used. Enjoy, it's summertime!

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Joined Sep 5, 2012
Spot on, I do the capers, the big one, nicely quartered, just a few. Ill have to try the mayo based dressing.
Joined Oct 2, 2010
Indeed, Ed, the egg yolks are still a bit soft, boiled for 8 minutes and cooled asap. That was the plan; eggs cooked this way are a delight in salads.

A hardboiled egg has to have 10 minutes as you know.
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Joined Jan 24, 2013
I actually think cooking the eggs like that for such salads is quite smart. How many times have you added a perfectly hard-boiled egg to salads, to only have them crumble and have to struggle with the yolk crumbs on the bottom of the bowl. I'm not a yolk fan at all, but If I fancied them, that's how I'd cook them for salads.
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