My classic Niçoise salad is going to get you out of a boring-salad-land faster than you can say Provence. It has lots of ingredients that you normally don't think of when making salad like fingerling potatoes, soft-boiled eggs, and crunchy haricots verts (which is just a fancy way of saying french green beans)! The best part is: we cook all these items in one pot! Just you wait, I'm going to show you the way.
The star of this recipe is freshly seared tuna as opposed to canned tuna, although I'll provide options for both. Seared tuna is a rare treat in our house. I'm not sure why, but we rarely buy tuna steaks? Gotta add these to our grocery list more often and spice things up! I think it's because I'm not a fan of fully cooked tuna? Raw middle or bust, for me and le tuna.
Okay, there is a whole lot more to this salad (cukes! heirloom tomatoes! olives) but let's just take a moment to talk about the dressing. Homemade dressing is THE ONLY WAY my friends, and it should not be intimidating! My creamy dijon dressing (brb, running to throw my beret on now that I'm essentially fluent in French) is so stupid good and it takes 3 seconds (okay 10) to whisk together.
The inspiration from this salad comes from 1) the summer I spent in Provence when I was in high school. Totally didn't make the most of my opportunity to learn french and just crushed on boys from Nice. Ah to be young again. And 2) Ina Garten and Julia Child, who both have amazing recipes for Niçoise, albeit a bit more complicated then my version, which is simplified, but equally delicious.
Okay, let's do it!
What sets this classic Niçoise salad apart?
We use seared tuna instead of canned, cuz we fancy. We cook everything in one pot (potatoes, string beans, eggs) saving time and dishes. I love nothing more than a one pot meal. Finally, the creamy, dreamy, dijon (pronounce with a French accent, sil-vous-plait) which you're going to be putting on everything.
How do we cook potatoes, string beans, and eggs all together?
The magic of a timer! First we put potatoes in heavily salted, boiling water for 15 minutes. When they're ready, we add eggs and set the timer for 3 minutes. Finally, with 3:30 seconds to spare, we add a handful of green beans. Ding! The potatoes are tender, the eggs are jammy and the green beans are still bright! TOUCHDOWN! Gently drain and shock with ice water to immediately stop the cooking process.
Can I Use Canned Tuna Instead of Fresh?
Just swap out the tuna steak in the ingredients for one can of tuna. I like to buy canned tuna that is packed in oil. Additionally, two good signs to look for: pole-and-line caught or troll caught, as well as MSC certified. You can read more about what to look for when buying canned fish here.
What Kind of Olives Do You Use?
There are lots of different olives that would go well here, but small black olives or purple Kalamata olives are traditional. Capers would also be a lovely addition to this party, should you have some on hand.
Why Do You Use Room Temperature Eggs?
It's easier to soft boil eggs when they are at room temperature. Another tip for easier peeling: let the eggs sit in cold water for 15 minutes before peeling. This will allow the egg to separate more from the shell and make peeling way less finnicky.
How Do I Sear Tuna?
Searing tuna couldn't be easier, or faster. All you have to do is get a cast-iron pan (or a grill pan) smoking hot and quickly cook your tuna for 1-1.5 minutes per side! We rub the tuna with olive oil, salt and pepper beforehand to make sure it's extra flavorful.
What other substitutions can I make?
If you don't have fingerling potatoes, use regular potaoes, just cube them! If you don't have cucumber, use radish or another crunchy veg! If you don't like string beans, you can use asparagus or snap peas. Try to swap for texture (i.e crunchy for crunchy) to preserve all the interesting bits and bobs of this salad.Print
A classic Niçoise salad simplified by cooking the vegetables in one pot. Served with seared or canned tuna and a creamy homemade dijon dressing.
For the salad:
1 8 oz. fresh (or frozen and thawed) tuna steak
6 fingerling potatoes, halved
½ english cucumber
1 small heirloom tomato, or any ripe tomato you like
handful of haricots verts of green beans, trimmed
3 eggs, room temperature
¼ cup kalamata olives
½ lemon, for serving
flaky salt, such as Maldon, for sprinkling on top
For the Dijon Dressing:
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus a bit more for the tuna
¼ cup lemon juice, approximately ½ large lemon
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
½ tsp kosher salt, plus a pinch more for the tuna
fresh black pepper
- Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a rolling boil.
- Add potatoes. Set timer for 15 minutes.
- While the potatoes boil, bring a grill pan or cast iron pan to a very high heat.
- Rub tuna with a little olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Once the pan is really hot (if you put a drop of water on it, it should sizzle loudly) add your tuna steak.
- Sear for 1.5 minutes on the first side, then turn and sear for one more minute. You're looking for a completely raw middle.
- Once the tuna is done, remove from the heat and set aside.
- At this point, your potato timer is probably done. If not, wait for it to ding, then add eggs to the water. Set the timer again for 3 minutes.
- After 3 minutes, add the green beans and set the timer one final time for 3 minutes and 30 seconds.
- When the timer goes off, carefully pour the boiled items out into a colander and wash with very cold water. If you have ice, dump some ice on top of the potatoes/string beans/eggs.
- While that cools down, chop your tomatoes and cucumbers and arrange them on a platter.
- Now, make your dressing. Whisk together dijon, honey, ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, ½ teaspoon salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Taste. If it feels too thick, add another spoon or two of olive oil. It should taste bright and assertive. Adjust to your personal taste if you want more lemon/salt/honey.
- Once the dressing is done, slice your tuna steak against the grain. This means you want to slice in the opposite direction of the natural lines on the tuna steak.
- Plate tuna with cucumbers and tomato.
- Carefully drain the remaining veggies and plate potatoes and string beans.
- Peel the eggs, cut them in half, and place on top of the salad.
- Add olives.
- Pour dressing over the top of the salad. Sprinkle with flaky salt. Serve with a half lemon (to be squeezed when you're ready to eat!)
- Voila! Enjoy!
If you're using canned tuna, simply ignore the directions regarding the seared tuna. Just drain your tuna and skip to plate.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Category: Salads
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: French
Keywords: nicoise, french, salad, whole30, paleo, gluten-free, entree salads, easy salads, dinner, one pot