Salade Niçoise

Now that spring has officially sprung, it's time to start kick starting our menus to help reflect the (hopefully) warming weather. So main dish salads will start taking a larger role in our meal plans. But since we still have chilly days and sometimes even snow on the ground, it makes sense to ease our way into salad land. Therefore, I'm sharing one of my all-time favorite main dish salads: Salade Niçoise.

This salad combines warm elements (seared tuna, roasted potatoes and green beans, and boiled eggs) with chilled elements (crunchy lettuce and tangy goat cheese) and brings it all together with yummy olives and a mustard vinaigrette. As is often the case with recipes like these, you can tweak the ingredients. Want roasted peppers? Go for it. Pep things up with chopped red onion. Blue cheese can be used instead of goat cheese or skipped altogether if desired. You can even used high quality oil packed tuna instead of the fresh tuna if you'd prefer. You get the idea.

For a meal like this, I like to just add a glass of chilled white wine and call it dinner. You could try adding more, but this salad is so busy, it sort of just handles the variety for you. So sit back, enjoy and welcome spring!

Salade Niçoise

For the salad:
  • ⅓ pound potatoes - cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 T. olive oil - divided
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • ¼ pound fresh green beans - ends snipped
  • 2 large eggs
  • 8 oz. sashimi grade ahi tuna
  • 1 head romaine lettuce - chopped, washed, and spun or patted dry
  • 12 olives
  • 2 oz. crumbled goat cheese
For the dressing:
  • 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp. whole grain dijon mustard
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp. honey
  • ⅛ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Toss the potatoes, 1 tablespoon of olive oil and salt & pepper together to evenly coat the potatoes. Spread the potatoes on a baking sheet and roast in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the potatoes and stir them gently. Add the green beans over the potatoes and return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes are soft and the beans are tender.

While the potatoes roast, boil the eggs to soft or medium consistency, depending on your tastes. Set them in ice water to stop the cooking process and peel, but do not slice; set aside.

After the eggs are done, but before the potatoes and green beans are done, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet and sear the tuna briefly on both sides. Season well with salt and pepper and slice into thin strips; set aside.

Arrange the lettuce, olives, warm potatoes and green beans, and sliced tuna on two serving plates. Sprinkle the goat cheese over the warm potatoes and slice and set a boiled egg on each plate as well.

In a small resealable jar, combine the ingredients for the dressing and shake vigorously to incorporate. Drizzle the dressing over each plate and serve immediately.

  • Yields: 2 main dish servings
  • Preparation Time: 45 minutes

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