Perfect for a summer's day, salad nicoise is best served with a cool glass of dry rose and a big helping of sunshine.
It's relatively simple to make - despite the huge array of components - and can be easily adapted according to individual tastes. And on top of that, it provides the chef with a good opportunity for some artistic presentation (or, if you prefer, you can just toss it all together on a plate - easy!)
While you can layer it up any way you like, here's how I did it:
Layer 1: lettuce, chopped, rinsed and patted dry
Layer 2: firm tomatoes, cut into eights
Layer 3: black olives, halved (tip: get fancy ones - mine were cheap and nasty and I regretted it!)
Layer 4: green beans, trimmed at each end and steamed until al dente (around 5 minutes)
Layer 5: halved baby new potatoes, scrubbed and boiled, peels left on (it's the healthiest part, dontcha-know). Don't overcook these or they will fall apart and make your salad less pretty - they should still have some bite. If using a different type of potato, waxy is best (e.g. Anya potatoes)
Layer 6: canned tuna, seperated out with a fork
Layer 7: Anchovies, arranged like a flower (or not...)
Layer 8: Hard boiled eggs (NOT overdone - nothing worse than greenish yolks...10 minutes should be plenty), halved
Top with a dressing made from good grainy mustard, extra-virgin olive oil, and lemon juice...et voila - salad nicoise!
SALAD NICOISE - Ingredients
For the salad:
Lettuce (mixed leaf, cos lettuce, romaine lettuce...totally up to you)
Tomatoes (any size, as long as they're firm)
New potatoes (or any other waxy potato)
Canned tuna (could use tuna steaks if you are trying to impress someone!)
For the dressing:
Extra-virgin olive oil (or just normal olive oil, whatevs)
Whisk the dressing ingredients together with a fork - a couple of teaspoons of mustard, and roughly equal amounts of oil and lemon juice, adjust quantities to taste (I like mine extra mustard-y). Season with salt and pepper.