If you were to order a Salad Nicoise in France, you would receive a combination of canned tuna, raw vegetables, olive oil, hard-boiled egg, and Nicoise olives.
This salad is inspired by the Nicoise, but with a face lift. Here we will use fresh tuna, cooked green beans and potatoes, a dijon mustard vinaigrette, goat cheese, and avocado.
Light, hearty, fresh, seasonal, and well-balanced, this remake of a classic is the perfect summer meal.
I like to serve a composed salad and then mess it all up before eating:
Fresh Tuna Nicoise
Makes 4 main course servings
1 pound French green beans, stemmed
1/2 pound fingerling potatoes, scrubbed
2 pounds sushi grade tuna
1 large head bibb, butter, or watercress, cleaned and torn into bite sized pieces
2-3 tablespoons capers
1/4 cup nicoise olives
3 heirloom tomatoes (pictured are heirloom grape tomatoes halved), cut into bite sized pieces
1 avocado, cut into bite sized pieces
4 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled
Dijon Vinaigrette, recipe below
Place eggs in a medium pot with a tight fitting lid. Bring water just to a simmer, turn off heat, cover, and sit for 9 minutes. Make an ice water bath. Remove eggs and place in bath for a few minutes to cool, then refrigerate. Bring the same water back to a boil. Add salt and green beans and blanch for 45 seconds, just until crisp tender. Drain and place green beans in ice bath to cool, then drain and refrigerate. Boil potatoes until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.
Place a skillet over high heat. Add a teaspoon or so of grapeseed or canola oil. Season fish with salt and pepper and sear about 30 seconds to 1 minute per side, depending on the size of your tuna steak. Place fish in refrigerator to cool.
Have a large platter or salad bowl close by. Find a large bowl large enough to hold the lettuce. Toss the lettuce with a few tablespoons of vinaigrette and salt. Place on the platter or individual serving plates.
Slice fingerling potatoes into coins, place in bowl, and toss with enough dressing to coat. Place decoratively on top of greens. Repeat with green beans, tomatoes, and avocado. Slice fish and place on top of greens. Drizzle dressing over the top of the fish.
Peel the eggs and half them. Tuck pieces decoratively around the salad. Top salad with goat cheese, remaining capers and olives, and freshly cracked black pepper. Serve additional dressing on the side.
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon finely minced shallot
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 cup grapeseed oil
salt, pepper, and sugar to taste
Place everything in a glass jar with a lid. Shake vigorously to combine. Adjust acidity with sugar and adjust to taste with salt and pepper.