One of my favorite summer dishes is my version of Salade Nicoise, the French salad made with tuna, eggs, tomatoes, potatoes and green beans. It doesn’t require much cooking, it’s served cold, and most importantly, everyone in our family likes it.
The French original is a composed salad, with the various components kept more separate. Mine is a bit more of a mishmash, with potato salad sitting atop greens and tuna salad atop that. I generally make my own vinaigrette, flavored with a bit of garlic and mustard, but a good bottled vinaigrette or Caesar-style dressing would work just fine.
It is a bit of work to prepare all the ingredients, but you can prepare them in advance and assemble the salad just before serving. The recipe traditionally calls for canned tuna, but for a really nice flavor, you can substitute grilled fresh tuna, cut into chunks.
- 4 medium boiling potatoes (about 1 pound total)
- ½ pound fresh green beans, trimmed
- 2 handfuls torn lettuce or mixed greens (optional)
- 1 large tomato, cut into 8 wedges
- 4 hard-boiled eggs, cut in half lengthwise
- 8 to 12 black olives (preferably Nicoise style)
- 2 (6-ounce) cans tuna packed in water, drained
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Vinaigrette (homemade or bottled)
- Parsley and/or capers for garnish
- Place the potatoes in a pan with cold water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, or just until they can be pierced easily with a fork. Rinse under cold water. When cool, peel potatoes and cut into chunks or slices. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, cook green beans in boiling water until tender-crisp, about 7 to 8 minutes. Rinse under cold water, drain and set aside.
- Just before serving, assemble salad: Make a bed of the lettuce or greens on a large platter. Top with green beans, arranged end to end around the edges of the lettuce. Arrange tomato wedges, eggs and olives decoratively around edge of platter. Toss the potatoes with vinaigrette, salt and pepper to taste. Mound in the middle of the platter. Moisten the tuna with a little of the vinaigrette and mound it on top of the potatoes. Scatter chopped parsley or capers over salad. Serve immediately.