Tuna Nicoise Salad Recipe
This is my take on a tuna nicoise salad, I chose it for November as by this time of the year I am always missing fresh summer salads and plush, delicious greens that so often give way to heavy, wintry meals. Don’t get me wrong though, I have much love for those too and this salad is actually very filling thanks to the potatoes and protein from the fish. The vegetables in this salad are easy to come by this time of year and still taste good too.
I have included some possible replacements/add ons in the ingredients list and I recommend reading the recipe the whole way through before you begin, so you know what’s to come!
This is a portion for two people, but you can adjust it easily to feed more.
For the salad:
6 small potatoes - preferably a firm, waxy variety (like charlotte or roseval)
110g of green beans, trimmed
1 head of romaine or frisée lettuce (or any you like really!)
2 tablespoons of capers (you can use traditional black olives instead, my partner is not a fan though, so capers it is!)
1 tablespoon of olive oil
3 medium eggs
1 tin of the best tuna you can find (I recommend the Locavore fish&nature brand, plus you can substitute with any fatty fish that you enjoy)
For the dressing:
2 tablespoons of capers (you can also use 2 anchovies instead, but adjust the salt seasoning accordingly)
1 small red onion or a shallot, finely chopped
1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
1 teaspoon of sugar
6-8 tablespoons of olive oil (depending on how loose you’d like the dressing to be)
Half a teaspoon mustard (dijon preferably, I had english here...works fine too)
Juice of 1 lemon
A handful of tender herbs (I used dill, you can also use basil or parsley)
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Boil the potatoes till tender. I boil them from cold water and when they reach boiling point, turn down the heat and set a timer for around 10-13 mins. Take them out of the water, as you want to preserve it for boiling the beans and set them aside for later.
2. Make an ice bath for the green beans. Fill a small bowl with cold water and add some ice cubes. Then boil the green beans in the leftover potato water, they should be bright green, still firm but tender. About 2-3 minutes. Drain and transfer the green beans to the ice bath for a few minutes. Drain them again, dry them off and set aside for later.
3. Add the tbsp of olive oil and 2 tbsp of capers to a small, heavy bottomed pan. Put on a medium-high heat and fry the capers until they start to “bloom” and crisp up. Should take about 5-7 mins, they will turn a darker green. Carefully take them out and set aside for later.
4. Make the dressing. Put the other capers (or anchovies) in a bowl or a pestle&mortar with the sugar, a pinch of salt and paprika. Roughly smash them to make a paste. Transfer the paste to a big bowl (which you can whisk in), add the lemon juice and the mustard. Whisk together and slowly add the remaining olive oil, whisking as you go to emulsify the dressing. When it’s thickened up, it will be cloudy and have a yellowy/orange hue, add the finely chopped onion and the tender herbs, taste and season with pepper and more salt if needed. Then place half of the dressing into a bowl and set aside for later, the remaining half will be used to dress the lettuce leaves before assembly.
5. Boil the eggs from cold water to boiling for about 7.5 minutes. You want to achieve that perfect spot between soft and hard boiled, where the yolk is still a bit runny but the white is softly, gently set. In Danish this is called a “smiling egg”.
6. While the eggs are boiling, rinse and slice the lettuce long ways, so to keep the shape of the leaf but making it smaller. You want little boats essentially, as they help to hold the dressing. Then put the lettuce into the big bowl with the dressing and toss them, until they are fully coated.
7. Peel the eggs and cut them in half, lengthways.
8. Open and drain the tin of tuna.
9. Slice the potatoes into bite size discs and now it’s time to assemble the salad!
10. Everything should be divided between two plates. First put down a layer of the lettuce, as a delicious, dressed bed of sorts and then artfully arrange all your remaining ingredients on top. Dress with the crispy capers and the remaining half of the dressing, that you kept aside.
If you have any questions, please leave a comment and I shall get back to you.