I love a Nicoise Salad and will almost always order it when on the menu. But with so many variations it can be hard to find the *perfect* salad. For me, it's no anchovies (too salty,) not too many potatoes (otherwise why eat a salad,) the right dressing, runny eggs and either tuna in the can or raw seared tuna. If you're thinking to yourself, "She is so high maintenance" then good news - you're right! If I weren't picky with my food prep then I'd have almost nothing to bring to the table with this website. :)
So what I've created is what I believe to be the perfect Nicoise Salad.
Of course, your preferences may differ from mine. Maybe you're averse to canned tuna (fair,) or maybe you think runny yolks are weird (not fair at all, and also not true,) but the great thing about the Nicoise is that it's totally customizable. Use this as kind of a jumping off point and customize as you see fit. But whatever you do, don't skip the dressing. It's kind of amazing.
For the salad:
1 head butter lettuce
4 ounces haricot vert (French string beans)
4 small purple or red potatoes
5 cocktail tomatoes, cut into quarters
a handful of pitted Kalamata olives
2 cans chunk light tuna in water
2 room temperature eggs
For the dressing:
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon coarse ground mustard
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1. Fill 2 medium size saucepans with salted water and bring to a boil. In a large bowl prepare an ice water bath.
2. Remove the stem from the butter lettuce and clean the leaves. I like to soak them in a bowl of water and vegetable wash. Pat the leaves clean and add to a large serving bowl or dish.
3. When the water has boiled add the haricot vert to one of the pots and boil them for 3-5 minutes, until they are a bright green, cooked but still crisp. When they're cooked drain the water and transfer them to the ice bath to cool completely. Once cooled, pat dry
4. Add the potatoes to the second pot and cook until they are fork tender, about 12 minutes. The potatoes will continue to cook once removed from the water so undercook them just a little. Use a slotted spoon to remove the potatoes from the water and transfer them to a cutting board. Slice them into 1" slices.
5. Make the dressing: add the vinegar, oregano, onion powder, and mustard to a small bowl and stir to combine. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking as you drizzle so that an emulsion occurs. You'll want to whisk with your dominant hand and drizzle with your non-dominant hand.
6. Drain the tuna and it to a small bowl. Dress the tuna with one tablespoon of the dressing.
7. Add the tomatoes, haricot vert, potatoes, olives and tuna to the serving dish with the lettuce.
8. Poach the eggs. I like to do this by bringing a deep frying pan of water to a simmer. I create a whirlpool effect by swirling a spoon in the water and then gently drop in the eggs while continuing to swirl the spoon. When the egg white sets, remove it from the water and gently pat dry.
9. Add the poached eggs to the salad bowl. Lightly sprinkle all the individual components with a finishing salt, like Maldon salt. Then, spoon the dressing over the salad.