Salad Niçoise

There are many schools of thought as to what goes into a salad Niçoise, some camps becoming pretty animated and heated as to the correct combination of ingredients. One book BEGGED me not to add any cooked vegetables while another added as many as five. It would seem the French can’t make up their minds so, I am giving you Salad Niçoise as I have always made it. A truly filling and satisfying salad, packed with interesting texture and flavour – perfect as a meal in itself or as part of a larger buffet style affair.

INGREDIENTS: (serves 3-4)
4 leaves iceberg lettuce (torn into pieces)
2 medium tuna fillets
1 cup French beans (trimmed and halved)
1 large potato (5cm cubed)
4 eggs (hard boiled)
1 green capsicum (seeded and cut into thin slices)
4 tomatoes (cut into wedges)
1/2 cup pitted black olives
1 lemon
salt & pepper

4 anchovies
1 clove garlic
1/3 cup sunflower oil
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Cook the potatoes in salted boiling water until tender. Drain and cool.

Cook the French beans in boiling water until just cooked, but with a little bite. Refresh in ice water and set aside.

Drizzle the tuna with a little oil and season with salt & pepper then fry for 3 minutes either side until cooked but still a little pink inside. When cooled, break into large chunks, squeeze over a little lemon juice and season lightly with salt & pepper. Set aside.

Arrange the lettuce in the bottom of a large serving platter then gradually arrange all the other vegetables on top. Finally sprinkle over the tuna then arrange the eggs and olives on top.

To make the dressing:
In a pestle and mortar, grind together the anchovies and garlic until you have a smooth paste. In a steady stream, whisking with a fork, add the sunflower oil then the olive oil. Whisk in the vinegar and lemon juice.

Just before serving, pour over the dressing. Serve with fresh bread on its own or as part of a larger feast.

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