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Salade Niçoise recipe

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay said, "It must be the finest summer salad of all."
Salade Nicoise | Michele Bogle
Salade Nicoise | Michele Bogle

It is without a doubt that the French treat their food culture with serious regard - evidenced when in 2016, French Michelin-starred chef Helen Darroze posted a salade niçoise recipe on Facebook that included cooked potatoes and green beans.

The reaction was quick and hostile. Darroze's version was called "a massacre of the recipe," a "sacrilege," and a "violation of the ancestral traditions."

Originating in the late nineteenth century in the French city of Nice, salade niçoise was described as "simple food for poor people," created with a combination of tomatoes, anchovies and olive oil; the salad evolved with fresh, raw ingredients added.

By the 1900s, tuna replaced anchovies in some recipes, while in others, both were included. The modifications of the ingredients included were boundless.

English cook and food influencer Delia Smith called it "one of the best combinations of salad ingredients ever invented," and celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay said that "it must be the finest summer salad of all" when regarding the salad's potential.

In the early twentieth century, the salad gained popularity worldwide, and famed chefs, including Martha Stewart, The Barefoot Contessa, and Jamie Oliver, to name a few, took liberties in how they presented the dish.

British food writer and television cook Nigella Lawson observed, "Everyone seems to have a very strong opinion as to what should or should not go into a salade niçoise."

You could find versions with hard-boiled eggs, sweet peppers, lettuce, cucumbers, and black olives accompanying the tuna, with an herbed vinaigrette drizzled atop the assortment.

In this month's series of salads that make a meal, I have chosen a combination of ingredients for my salade niçoise, influenced by a chef who inspired me as a cook. French chef and television personality Jacques Pepin always seemed to create such complex dishes in my mind when my passion to elevate dishes began. The ingredients that he uses often spoke to me.

Typically a salad niçoise that incorporates tuna includes tuna from a can. I have elevated the recipe to include a seared tuna steak. Replacing the salty component that the anchovy provides with capers can be a preferred alternative.

I have dispensed with the compartmentalization of each plated ingredient and will combine the elements together with an Asian-inspired dressing, allowing the palate to enjoy a different taste sensation with every bite. 

I hope that you enjoy my take on the Salade Niçoise. A nicely chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc compliments the taste of tuna with its strong citrus flavours and herbal notes.

Salade Niçoise Recipe

PREPARATION TIME   30 min     YIELDS   4 servings


Large non-stick pan, heat-resistant spatula, medium-sized mixing bowl, large mixing bowl, spoon, measuring cup, cutting board, paring knife, colander, 2 medium saucepans, whisk



600 to 800 grams or 3 to 4 raw tuna steaks

½ tsp freshly ground pepper

1 ½ cups cherry tomatoes, halved

1 ½ cups green beans, halved

24 baby potatoes, halved

¾ cup black olives

2 Tbsp olive oil

4 cups lettuce medley

6 to 8 eggs, hard-boiled, then halved vertically

Pinch of salt (when finished)

1 green onion, thinly sliced (optional garnish)

Salad dressing  

8 Tbsp olive oil

12 Tbsp rice vinegar

8 Tbsp sesame oil

8 Tbsp soy sauce

6 Tbsp maple syrup

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tbsp ginger, minced


Step 1 

Fill two saucepans with water to the halfway point and bring to a boil. Add potatoes and beans to one and eggs to the other. When the water returns to a boil, reduce heat to medium-high and cook for 6 minutes until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork. Drain both and let cool or refrigerate.

Step 2

In a mixing bowl, add 8 tablespoons of olive oil, vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, maple syrup, garlic, and ginger, then whisk vigorously.

Step 3

In the non-stick pan, stir in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of dressing. Heat the combination on medium-high. Pepper all sides of each steak.

When the oil and dressing combination begins to bubble, quickly but carefully with the tongs, turn each steak's side and edges into the dressing. Allow each steak to cook for one minute on both sides. Let the steaks rest with the heat turned off while tossing the salad.

Step 4

Add the potatoes, beans, olives, lettuce, and tomatoes to the mixing bowl and toss gently until all elements are lightly coated in the salad dressing. Plate.

On a cutting board, thinly slice the tuna and place the desired amount of pieces on top of each salad. Add a pinch of salt to the tuna. Garnish with sliced green onion. Place the hard-boiled eggs along the outside.

Voilà, Salade Niçoise!