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salad niçoise with seared tuna

Recipe by
Vickie Parks
Renton, WA

Salad Niçoise is an elegant dish of French origin. It can be tossed or composed (in which ingredients are arranged or layered in a pattern), and both make an equally impressive presentation. This version is based on Jacques Pepin's recipe but with significant changes in seasonings. But also, this version eliminates extra steps of blanching or peeling some of the vegetables. The salad already takes a lot of time to make anyway, so time-saving cuts were incorporated where possible (which not only reduces effort but also helps to retain the taste and nutritional value of the fresh vegetables).

yield 6 serving(s)
prep time 55 Min
cook time 5 Min
method Saute

Ingredients For salad niçoise with seared tuna

  • 3/4 lb
    baby red potatoes
  • water (for boiling vegetables)
  • 3/4 lb
    fresh green beans, tips timmed off
  • 1 md
    yellow bell pepper (or orange bell pepper)
  • 2 md
  • 1
    red onion, peeled
  • 1 cup
    nicoise olives or oil-cured black olives
  • 1 lb
    fresh tuna
  • 1 tsp
    canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp
  • 1 tsp
    black pepper
  • 1 dozen
    whole lettuce leaves, hard stems trimmed
  • 1/4 cup
    fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp
    dijon mustard
  • 5 clove
    garlic, chopped (to produce about 1 1/2 tablespoons)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp
    red wine vinegar
  • 7 Tbsp
    olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp
  • 1 tsp
    black pepper

How To Make salad niçoise with seared tuna

  • 1
    For the dressing, whisk together the mustard, garlic, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper; set aside.
  • 2
    Place potatoes into a large saucepan and add enough water to cover potatoes. Bring water to a boil over high heat. Cover pan, reduce heat to low, and boil gently for 25 minutes or until potatoes are tender but still somewhat firm (so they don't "mash" or crumble easily when tossed), Drain water, and set potatoes aside until cool enough to handle.
  • 3
    Once cooled, cut potatoes into 1/2-inch slices, and toss with the dressing.
  • 4
    Bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil in a saucepan. Add beans, cover pan, and bring back to a brisk boil, and boil for 2 to 3 minutes, just until tender but still slightly firm. Drain water and run beans under cool running water to stop cooking and to preserve the deep green color of the beans. Cut beans in half.
  • 5
    Slice the yellow pepper into half, remove seeds, then cut each half into paper-thin julienned strips (should be about 1 1/2 cups).
  • 6
    Cut tomatoes in half, then cut each half into 1/2-inch thick slices. Cut onion in half, then cut each half into thin half-rings. To this point, the steps above can be done in advance and stored in refrigerator until ready to assemble the salad.
  • 7
    No more than 1 hour prior to serving the salad, add potatoes, beans, yellow pepper, onion slices, tomatoes and black olives to a large salad bowl. Toss well.
  • 8
    Just prior to serving, heat a heavy-duty (or cast-iron) skillet for 2 minutes or until very hot. Roll tuna in the canola oil, then season with salt and pepper. Place tuna in hot skillet and sear over high heat for about 2 minutes. Turn tuna and sear other side for 2 minutes more or until outside is lightly browned but still pink inside. Cut tuna into 1/2-inch thick slices.
  • 9
    To serve, line a large platter with the lettuce leaves. Arrange the Salad Nicoise over the lettuce leaves. Arrange tuna slices over the salad. Garnish with chopped basil, and serve immediately.

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