A perfect recipe for meat-free suppers during Lent, Salade Nicoise hails from the resplendent Cote d’Azur region of southeastern France. Cooking that is labeled nicoise or à la nicoise (as prepared in Nice) typically features tomatoes, black olives, garlic and anchovies. The salad named for the famous city also uses French green beans, onions, hard-cooked eggs and herbs.
To be expected, culinary experts from Nice have firm rules when it comes to making the salad. Using canned tuna or canned anchovies is fine, but both should not be used at the same time. Potatoes are not allowed, because the classic salad includes only one cooked item (the eggs).
Rule-breakers that we are, we threw together a salad with some variations. We substituted steamed asparagus spears for the green beans and added small red-skinned potatoes. (Mais, non!) Thinly sliced radishes added a touch of bite. And instead of dressing the salad with olive oil and herbs, we drizzled on a simple vinaigrette.
While Salade Nicoise remains anchored to its Riviera heritage, you can make it your own: Use crab instead of tuna, add a touch of Dijon mustard to the vinaigrette, serve it on top of your favorite lettuce, or place everything in a large salad bowl and toss.
Salade Nicoise with Potatoes and Asparagus
8 small red potatoes, uniform in size (about 1 pound)
1 (6-ounce) can tuna in water, drained
12 asparagus spears, trimmed and steamed
8 radishes, thinly sliced
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh parsley
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
4 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1. To prepare salad, cut potatoes into halves or quarters and place in large pot; add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil; cook until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Drain.
2. Arrange potatoes on platter with tuna, asparagus, radishes, olives, onion and parsley.
3. To prepare vinaigrette, combine vinegar, chopped parsley and olive oil; whisk well. Drizzle over salad. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Per serving: 216 calories, 8g fat, 13mg chol., 14g prot., 24g carbs., 3g fiber, 451mg sodium
Recipe courtesy of the United States Potato Board