Classic Salad Niçoise

Classic Salad Niçoise

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Credit: Excerpted from “The Way to Cook by Julia Child.” Copyright © 1989 by Julia Child. Reprinted with permission from the publisher Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.


1 large head of Boston lettuce, washed and dried
2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1½ pounds green beans, trimmed, blanched, refreshed in cold water, and dried
2/3 to 1 cup salad dressing, such as the Oil and Dressing (recipe follows) or its garlic variation
3 or 4 fine ripe red tomatoes, peeled if you wish, and cored, quartered, and seasoned before serving
8 to 10 ounces oil-packed tuna, drained and flaked
1 quart French Potato Salad (recipe follows)
8 hard-boiled eggs, halved lengthwise
1 can flat anchovy fillets packed in oil and drained just before serving
½ cup black Niçoise-type olives
3 or 4 tablespoons capers
¼ cup minced fresh parsley

Oil and Lemon Dressing:
Makes about 2/3 cup, enough for 6 to 8 servings
2 strips of fresh lemon peel (1 by 2½ inches each)
¼ teaspoon salt, plus more, if needed
½ tablespoon Dijon-type prepared mustard
1 to 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ cup fine fresh oil
Freshly ground pepper

French Potato Salad:
1½ pounds warm sliced cooked potatoes
2 tablespoons finely minced shallots or scallions
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
¼ cup chicken stock or potato-cooking water
1½ tablespoons wine vinegar
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 to 3 tablespoons light olive oil, optional


Shortly before serving, line a handsome, large and wide salad bowl or a roomy platter with lettuce leaves, drizzle a little olive oil on them, and dust with a sprinkling of salt. Toss the beans in a mixing bowl with a little olive oil on them, and dust with a sprinkling of salt. Toss the beans in a mixing bowl with a little of the dressing, and correct seasoning. Drizzle a spoonful or two of the dressing over the tomatoes. Season the tuna lightly with a spoonful or two of dressing. Place the potatoes in the center of the bowl or platter; mound beans at strategic intervals, interspersing them with tomatoes and mounds of tuna. Ring the salad with the eggs, and curl an anchovy on top of each. Spoon a little more vinaigrette over all; scatter on olives, capers, and parsley. Serve as soon as possible.

For the Oil and Lemon Dressing:
Mince the lemon peel very finely with the salt, scrape it into the mortar or bowl, and mash into a fine paste with pestle or spoon. Beat in the mustard and 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice; when thoroughly blended start beating in the oil by droplets to make a homogeneous sauce—easier when done with a small electric mixer. Beat in droplets of more lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

For the French Potato Salad:
Turn the warm potatoes into the bowl and toss gently with the shallots or scallions, a sprinkling of salt and pepper, stock or cooking water, vinegar, and parsley. Let step 10 minutes or so, tossing gently several times. Then correct seasoning, toss with the optional oil, and the potatoes are ready for serving.


6-8 servings



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