Salade Niçoise

Salade Niçoise

We’ve either overindulged on holiday or are still trying to trim down for the beach.  And when it comes to sensible, healthy eating and something appetising in warm weather there’s only one choice – salad.

If the family, especially the man in your life, objects to being fed “rabbit food” you’ll need to make your salads tempting and tasty.  So try Niçoise, the flavourful salad option

Salade Niçoise, which originated on the Cote d`Azur, is salty and full of flavour, with crisp lettuce, black olives, garlic, anchovy and tomatoes. You can add beans, hard-boiled eggs, onion or new potatoes depending on preference. Broad beans or French beans add texture. Tuna is often in there but it can take over and anchovies serve just as well .

There are several variations and disputes as to which do and don’t belong but don’t worry, what’s available will work. 

Anchovies
Anchovy fillets either come in oil or preserved in salt. If using the oily ones make sure you rinse and dry.

Lettuce
Must be either Cos or Little Gem

Tomatoes
Ripe and juicy, preferably plum, tomatoes quartered but may need skinning.

Olives
Essential!  Black fit the bill best, green if you must, but don’t mess up flavours with stuffed olives.

Beans
Well-cooked French beans or boiled broad beans if you want added texture.

Dressing
Garlic, vinegar, red wine, extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt.  Add a little Dijon mustard if you like.

Artichoke hearts can add a little luxury just take them out of their jar of olive oil

Boiled eggs  If adding them make sure they are not extra hard boiled but just about set.

Capers Love them or hate them – I love them and they do add a kick.

New potatoes The jury’s out, if you want them fine but don’t overdo it

Herbs Flat leaf parsley works.

Salade Niçoise

For 2

Salad

1 Cos lettuce or 2 Little Gems
4 tomatoes 
Dozen black olives

8 anchovies

teaspoon capers

Sprigs of flat-leaf parsley

Optional extras

6 artichoke hearts 

Handful French beans 
2 free range eggs

Dressing

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar 
Dab of Dijon mustard if desired 
100ml extra virgin olive oil 
2 small crushed garlic cloves 

Method

Beans boiled in salted water until bendy

Eggs 4/5 minutes, then left in cold water

Cut skin at tomatoes’ end, place in boiling water for 30secs, peel and quarter

Drain artichokes and quarter

Rinse anchovies and if salted variety debone

Wash  and tear up lettuce and place in serving dish

Put tomatoes, sliced eggs, anchovies, artichokes, olives and beans on top

Chop parsley and add.

Whisk dressing ingredients and add salt/pepper

Drizzle dressing over salad

Serve with fresh crusty bread and a glass of cold white wine.

Patricia McLoughlin

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