Niçoise Salad

This past spring, I attended the launch of the Ann Arbor Dishcrawl event and one of the dishes that really made an impression on me was the Salade Niçoise at Café Felix:

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Niçoise Salad is a French salad that is basically a big tasting plate of healthy, delicious goodness, including tuna, tomatoes, olives, potatoes, hard boiled egg, and green beans, dressed in a light vinaigrette dressing.

When in Prague last month, one day I ordered a lovely Niçoise Salad for lunch one day, as well. Though we weren’t in France, this was a perfect summer lunch!P1120410

The best part of that Niçoise Salad was the VIEW! We dined on this amazing terrace overlooking Prague and Petrín Hill. I want to live on this terrace.

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One we were back home, I decided that I must try making my own Niçoise Salad. First I boiled veggies: red potatoes and green beans.

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Due to the fact that I was watching my waistline after eating lots of CARBS AND MEAT in Prague the week prior, I tried out a recipe from the Food Network for Light Nicoise Salad, with only a few small tweaks and substitutions.

The dressing, which was simply a puree of fresh tomatoes, olive oil, light mayonnaise, and red wine vinegar, was prepared exactly as instructed by the recipe.  After a spin around the blender, I was left with this beautiful creamy red tomato dressing for the salad.

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Salty olives, fresh summery basil, and hard-boiled egg added lots of flavor, color, and interest to the salad.

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To compose the salad, I first prepared a generous pile of Bibb lettuce on each plate, and drizzled with some of the tomato dressing.

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In a separate bowl, I tossed canned albacore tuna, cooked green beans and potatoes, and sliced bell pepper with the remaining dressing. This dressed tuna mixture was then placed atop the greens.

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The remaining ingredients – hard boiled eggs, olives, chopped fresh basil – were then arranged atop the salad base, to create this lovely summer dinner.

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What I love about Niçoise Salad is that it never gets boring, No two bites are the same. With each forkful, I like to compose a different combination of flavors. Egg and olives? Green beans and tuna? Potatoes and basil? Like it said, this salad keeps dinner interesting.

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If you’re looking for a light, refreshing, and healthy summer meal, I do recommend this recipe. Obviously you can add or omit ingredients to suit your fancy!

Light Niçoise Salad

Recipe lightly adapted from Food Network

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound small red-skinned potatoes, quartered
  • salt
  • 3/4 pound green beans
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes or chopped plum tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 head Bibb lettuce, leaves separated
  • 2 5-ounce cans tuna packed in water, drained
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped pitted kalamata or nicoise olives
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • Freshly ground pepper

Directions

  1. Put the potatoes in a medium pot and cover with water by about 2 inches. Add a pinch of salt, cover and bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium high and simmer until just tender, about 5-8 minutes. Add the snap peas and continue simmering, covered, until the peas are crisp-tender, about 3 more minutes. Drain the potatoes and peas and rinse under cold water; transfer to a large bowl.
  2. Make the dressing: Puree the tomatoes, olive oil, mayonnaise, vinegar and 1 tablespoon water in a blender.
  3. Divide the lettuce among 4 bowls and drizzle with some of the dressing. Add the tuna, bell pepper, olives and basil to the potatoes and peas; add the remaining dressing and toss gently to coat. Season with salt and pepper, then pile on top of the lettuce.

Makes four medium salads or two really big ones.

My rating: 7.8/10

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2 thoughts on “Niçoise Salad

  1. Pingback: Europe 2013: Prague Day 7–Part II: Petrin Hill | Meg.Goes.Nom.Nom.

  2. Pingback: Top Dinner Entrée Recipes of 2013–Part II | Meg.Goes.Nom.Nom.

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