For a Salade Niçoise to be truly genuine it should be made predominantly with raw ingredients (apart from hard-boiled eggs) such as tomatoes, raw pimento, lettuce hearts, garlic and locally grown black olives. Salade Niçoise is a fairly recent concept as it only dates back to the 1800s. Tomatoes first appeared around 1560 in Naples and only became implanted in Nice and Provence during the 18th century.
When the great chef George Auguste Escoffier added tuna fish (as well as anchovies) to this particular recipe it quickly became a great favourite. But you’ll find many different versions of this salad depending on the season and the chef. Some recipes have diced potatoes, green asparagus or French beans – all delicious – but the authentic recipe is sparse on vegetables.
- Preparation time : 15 minutes
- Cooking time : 5-6 minutes for hard-boiled eggs
- No. of servings : 4
- Difficulty : Low
- 4-6 ripe tomatoes
- ½ red onion
- Violet artichokes
- desalted anchovies
- green pepper
- Hard-boiled eggs
- black olives, handful (Niçoise Cailletier olives for authencity)
- 250gr tin of tuna (in olive oil)
- Salt & pepper
- Mesclun salad (or mixed salad leaves)
- 2 cloves of garlic
- Splash of red wine vinegar
- olive oil (drizzle)
- juice of one freshly squeezed lemon
Place the eggs in a saucepan, bring to the boil and let them cook for just under 8 minutes. When cooked, peel and slice. Skin the tomatoes by placing them in some hot boiling water for a few minutes. Then quarter them, splash with red wine vinegar and sprinkle with the crushed garlic. Set to one side. Take the artichoke and remove the outer leaves and tip. Cut into quarters and remove the tiny “beard” which surrounds the heart. Leave to rest in the lemon juice and mustard marinade. Cut the onion into 3-4mm rings. Cut the pepper in half, remove the seeds and dice the pepper into thinnish slices.
If you’re using a salad as a base, place this into your salad bowl, add the tomatoes and place on top of the salad. Add the pepper, pimento and garlic. Add the tuna fish and the black Niçoise Cailletier olives (otherwise you could use black Greek olives). Add some olive oil, salt and milled black pepper. Toss the salad together. Decorate with egg slices and anchovies. Serve with crusty French bread and your favourite butter.
Use good quality fresh vegetables whenever possible. We toss the violet artichokes in a mixture of lemon juice and Dijon mustard as they quickly discolour after you’ve peeled and quartered them. We leave the artichokes to marinate until they’re needed to assemble the dish. This lemon dip helps keep them from going brown and adds a little tang to the Salade Niçoise.
Mesclun salad is cultivated around Nice and, depending on the season, could include escarole, lamb’s lettuce, chicory, cresses and endive.