Salade Niçoise with divine Dijon dressing

Salade Niçoise with divine Dijon dressing

One of the first recipes we ever posted on our site was Salade Niçoise. It’s the most colorful and eye-catching salad we know of — and it also happens to taste incredibly good, and be incredibly good for you! Over the years we’ve received a lot of feedback about this salad, and it certainly seems like many of you enjoy it just as much as we do.

So why are we changing the recipe? As they say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Actually, the basic salad ingredients stay much the same, except for changing the type of lettuce we use (which I’ll talk about in a moment). But the main difference is the dressing. We had a revelation the other day which has turned our original dressing — which was already very tasty — into what I can only describe as divine.

Our revelation was actually very simple. Traditionally, one of the ingredients of Salade Niçoise is anchovy fillets. These salty morsels certainly add a unique depth-of-flavor to the salad. But if you have a mouthful of salad with too much anchovy, it can be a bit overwhelming on the palate. So when we were making up a batch last week, we decided to try an experiment. Instead of using whole fillets of anchovy in the salad, we thought we’d mash them and add them to the dressing (the same way that mashed anchovies are typically added to a Caesar salad dressing).

As soon as we tasted the dressing made this way we were blown away! The anchovies added a wonderful richness (without in any way being overpowering), and they even improved the texture and mouth feel of the dressing.

The other change we made to our original recipe was to use romaine (cos) lettuce, instead of the soft-textured butter lettuce we usually use. We thought the crunch and flavor of the romaine would work particularly well with this new dressing — and I’m pleased to report that it certainly did.

We hope you enjoy this new and improved version of our Salade Niçoise as much as we did.

Salade Niçoise with divine Dijon dressing
Serves 4
A mouthwatering and colorful salad from the Provence region of southern France which includes chunks of tender tuna, green beans, tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, potato, lettuce and olives coated with a flavorful olive oil, Dijon mustard and white wine vinegar dressing.
2 small potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-size cubes
20 green beans, ends trimmed and halved
4 anchovy fillets
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 large eggs, hard-boiled, peeled and quartered
10 romaine (cos) lettuce leaves, washed and dried
14 oz (400g) canned tuna in olive oil, drained and broken into chunks
3 tomatoes, cut into wedges
¼ red onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings
16 black olives (Niçoise are ideal)
COOK the potatoes in a large pot of boiling water for 10 minutes, adding the beans for the final 5 minutes of cooking, then set aside to cool. FINELY chop the anchovies, then use the side of a knife blade to mash into a paste. SCRAPE the anchovies into a screw-top jar, then add the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper and shake to combine. ARRANGE the lettuce, potatoes, beans, tuna, tomatoes, onion, eggs and olives on a serving platter. POUR the dressing evenly over the salad to serve.

Variation: For a more opulent version, you can poach or grill fresh fillets of salmon or tuna, allow to cool, and cut into cubes to replace the canned tuna.
This is one of the recipes from our cookbook The MediterrAsian Way.