When you think of classic French recipes, Salade Niçoise – or Niçoise Salad – is one of the most common recipes to show up in online searches. It is a classic French Salad consisting of tuna or anchovies, tomatoes, capers, potatoes, haricot verts, olives and a light vinaigrette.
Niçoise recipes come from the region of France known as Nice. Nice is pronounced like the word niece, instead of “that person is really nice,” and Niçoise is pronounced “knee-suaze.” Many classic French recipes come from this area, and since it is coastal, many of the recipes contain seafood. Niçoise typically has either tuna or anchovies, and the tuna can either be cooked tuna steaks or canned. I went with canned yellowfin tuna for this salad.
Niçoise salads are typically served with all the ingredients arranged separately on a large serving platter. They are really pretty this way, but it’s not as easy to assemble a smaller salad from it. The American version of this salad is the Cobb salad, with all the ingredients arranged on top of the lettuce instead of tossed. You can make the salad either way: if you go with with most of the ingredients tossed, I would leave the hard boiled eggs aside, then add once plated. Or you can simply add all the ingredients to a smaller bowl and gently toss with the vinaigrette.
I made a champagne vinaigrette for this Niçoise salad. These salads typically have a light vinaigrette and I thought that the champagne vinegar would be a nice touch and make it extra “French.” The trick is to make your own champagne vinegar. Let some champagne go flat in a jar covered with cheesecloth and after a few weeks you will have vinegar.
This salad is filling and delicious, and in the words of Julia Child, “Bon Appétit!”