Nicoise Salad

IMG_3953My parents have been traveling a lot recently and I love it because that usually means the day they leave for an adventure, my father empties the contents of his fridge into mine. I’ll end up with a random group of ingredients that force me to be creative and think outside the box. On the last delivery, my dad left half a bag of baking potatoes, a pint of cherry tomatoes, a bunch of green beans, and several hard boiled eggs.

It took me a whole twenty four hours of thinking before I realized that these ingredients are exactly the elements needed to make a classic Nicoise salad. I already had black olives and tuna in the pantry, so bam! — I made a delicious and easy Nicoise salad. Actually, the salad was so good, I made it four times! If you put together a big batch, it keeps for a couple of days. Traditionally a Nicoise salad is composed and all the parts are arranged separately on a platter, but my version is a chopped salad. It’s perfect for a picnic!

IMG_3956Nicoise Salad

2 large baking potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1-inch circular chunks
1 teaspoon capers, minced
1 small shallot, minced
1 heaping tablespoon parsley, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups green beans, trimmed
2 hard boiled eggs, diced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
2 5-ounce cans tuna in olive oil, drained
3/4 cup pitted kalamata olives
1/4 cup parsley, roughly chopped

For the anchovy vinaigrette:
6 anchovies, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1/3 cup oil

2 cups chopped red leaf or butter lettuce, optional for serving

  1. Place the potato chunks in a medium sauce pan and cover with water. Season generously with salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, lower the heat to medium high and boil for 12 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through and a fork pierces easily into the flesh. Do not over cook, you want the potatoes to hold their shape rather than turn into mashed potatoes.
  2. While the potatoes cook, combine the capers, shallots, parsley, and oil in a small jar. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Shake to combine.
  3. When the potatoes are cooked, remove them with tongs and place on a cutting board. Do not drain the boiling water.
  4. Add the green beans to the water and boil for 1 minute until the beans float and are bright green.
  5. Drain the green beans and immediately place into a bowl of ice water.
  6. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, but still warm, chop into bite-sized pieces, about 1/2-inch dice. Place in a large bowl and drizzle the caper shallot dressing over the potatoes. Toss to combine. Set the bowl aside.
  7. Drain the green beans and cut into 1-inch pieces. Add the green beans to the bowl with the potatoes. Add the eggs, tomatoes, tuna, olives, and parsley to the bowl.
  8. Make the anchovy vinaigrette by combining all of the ingredients in a small sealable jar. Season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Seal the jar and shake well to combine.
  9. Pour the vinaigrette over the bowl with the tuna, eggs, and vegetables. Using a large spoon, gently toss everything together to make sure all of the ingredients are coated in dressing. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more salt or pepper if necessary.
  10. Enjoy the salad as is or arrange the chopped lettuce evenly over four large plates. Divide the salad evenly over the top of the lettuce. To eat the salad later, pack in plastic airtight containers and refrigerate for up to 4 days.

Makes 4 dinner sized salads.


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