on the menu – California style Salade Niçoise

CA style nicoise salad

I wanted to share how you can make a Niçoise salad even more special.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love Niçoise salad and if I find it on a menu chances are I will be ordering it.  But my family, not so much.  But if we substitute seared fresh Ahi Tuna and add some avocado, I can get them on board.

CA style nicoise salad 1

I use all the traditional elements of a Niçoise salad: lettuce, tomatoes, red onion, string beans, hard boiled eggs, new potatoes and olives.  Plus I also add chopped up avocado.  It’s a running joke with us that in California they put avocado on everything (kind of true) but I think that’s true now in many parts of the country.  The avocado toast phenomenon has reached far and wide.  Miss M loves avocados and she was the one who convinced me to add them to this salad.  I like avocados too but didn’t think it belonged in this salad but if we’re injecting some sushi grade tuna I guess the avocado makes sense too.

CA style nicoise salad 2

I start by cooking or prepping all the vegetable ingredients.  I wash and tear the lettuce into bite size pieces.  I used butter lettuce here, which is one of my favorite choices.  I used small cherry tomatoes and I simply wash and cut these in half.  The onions and avocado are just chopped or sliced to your preference.  Hard boil the eggs to your doneness preference and simply slice them in half.  Boil the new potatoes to fork doneness and cute in half or quarters depending on the size of the potatoes.  Steam the string beans to your preference {we like them with a bit of a crunch} and I leave them whole rather than cutting them because I think it makes for a better presentation.  Remember you eat with your eyes first.  The olives do not require any preparation.

CA style nicoise salad 3

Salt and pepper everything to your tasted and arrange your veggies on your serving platter.  Drizzle everything with some of the dressing.  You might want to toss some things in more dressing like the potatoes and tomatoes but it really depends on how much dressing you like on your salads.  I am of the camp of always ordering my salad dressing on the side when I am out to eat since I like less rather than more dressing.

CA style nicoise salad 4

We use Sushi grade Tuna when we sear our Tuna since you only cook the outside and keep the inside raw.  Yes, this is truly for sushi lovers.  If you don’t like seared Ahi Tuna you can always use the best canned | jarred tuna you can find or even cook the tuna all the way through if you want to use fresh tuna; you just don’t need to use sushi grade which will save you a couple of bucks.

CA style nicoise salad 5

We marinade the Tuna for about an hour before grilling.  We use 2 Tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 Tablespoon sesame oil, a couple minced garlic cloves and S&P to taste.  Grilling is super fast about 1-1/2 to 2 minutes per side.  We like to get those char marks on the outside which gives it a great crunch on the outside while the inside is super buttery and rich.

CA style nicoise salad 6

Let the Tuna rest for about 3 minutes before slicing.  Layer on the bed of veggies and sprinkle with sesame seed.  I serve it family style with more dressing on the side so everyone can pick and choose the component choices they want.  I like them all but I know not necessarily everyone does.  In our house Mr. M doesn’t like eggs in his salad and Miss M doesn’t like olives.

CA style nicoise salad 7

For the dressing mix together 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, juice of one lemon, 1 shallot minced, 1 teaspoon of dijon mustard,  1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano.  Mix well to emulsify together.  Last but not least add salt and pepper to taste.
Bon Appetite!
“No one is born a great cook, one learns by doing.”
~Julia Child~

Other summer recipes you might be interested in:

Caprese1        On the menu-3 layer salad        Shrimp lettuce wraps

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