It checks all the boxes: first and most important, it is delicious. It is also healthy and well-balanced, but is so decadently satisfying, maybe you wouldn’t think so. (I love that in a meal). Serve this salad at any temperature and by all means make it in advance if that suits you. Another terrific trait is how well it plays well with leftovers. Got some cooked broccoli from last night? Throw it on the platter! A little roast chicken from the night before? Cut it in strips and lay it down!
Which brings us to the final winning characteristic of our beloved Salad Niçoise: substitute in whatever ingredients you and your crew like. Use skirt steak in place of the tuna, for example; or grilled boneless chicken breasts. If you’d rather not turn on the oven to roast potatoes, cook up orzo and toss it with an abundance of parsley. Cucumbers can replace (or augment) the tomatoes, just as asparagus might step in for green beans. To call it Niçoise, you really ought to include the eponymous olives.
Remember that whatever substitutions you make, the key is to drizzle the entire platter lightly with the dressing, and pass the extra for diners to use as see as they see fit. (You’ll likely have dressing left over for use later in the week.)
12 ounces baby potatoes, halved
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon salt, divided
12 ounces green beans
2 (8-ounce) tuna steaks, about 3/4-inch thick
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 large eggs
1/4 cup Niçoise olives
4 to 6 radishes, thinly sliced
4 fragrant plum tomatoes, each cut in 8 wedges
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon country Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, or 1 teaspoon fresh
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Toss the potatoes with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Coat a sheet pan with cooking spray and place the potatoes, cut side down, on the pan. Roast 15 to 18 minutes, until golden brown on the underside and tender in the center. Set aside.
2. Meanwhile, bring a medium saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the green beans, return to a boil and cook until the beans are bright green and crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a colander and rinse under cold water.
3. Combine the eggs in a small saucepan with enough cold water to cover them. Place over high heat, and as soon as the water comes to a boil, cover the pot and remove it from the heat. Let the eggs sit in the covered pot for 12 minutes. Rinse in cold water, and when they are cool enough to handle, peel the shells and cut each egg in half.
3. Season the tuna with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and the pepper. Coat a grill pan with cooking spray (or prepare the grill for direct heat cooking). Grill the tuna about 3 to 4 minutes per side, depending on your desired degree of doneness. Transfer to a cutting board and allow to rest a about 5 minutes before cutting in thin slices.
4. Make the dressing: Combine the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, vinegar, mustard and thyme in a bowl. Slowly whisk in the remaining olive oil.
5. Toss 2 tablespoons of the dressing with the green beans.
6. Fan the tuna out in one area of the platter. Build additional piles of the green beans, potatoes, radishes, tomatoes, eggs, and olives, and drizzle the entire platter lightly with some of the dressing. Pass the remaining dressing.