Salade Nicoise is an easy meal to prepare, and you could speedily whip it up for impromptu lunch or dinner guests. Salad Nicoise is a kind of French salad made of very healthful ingredients. It will depend on your particular preferences as to what specific ingredients you will add, but the major components of the Salade Nicoise are fresh vegetables and greens. This salad is a great choice for outdoor picnics and it is refreshing enough to be enjoyed during summertime.
- Know what Salade Nicoise is made of. What exactly you will put in the salad will mostly depend on your preferences and the availability of ingredients. A general guideline, however, is that the vegetables in the salad should not be cooked. Purists in particular say that potatoes should never be added while others say that lettuce should never be added either. Traditionally, Salade Nicoise is made of shallots, artichoke hearts and red peppers.
- Prepare the ingredients. The most important part of preparing Salade Nicoise is to assemble the ingredients. A common list of ingredients for four servings of this salad will include the following: one 6-ounce can of tuna in oil (with the oil set aside); three cups of salad greens; 12 spears of steamed asparagus; 8 radishes; two tablespoons red onion (minced); half-a-cup pitted olives; two tablespoons fresh parsley (chopped); four tablespoons olive oil; three tablespoons red wine vinegar; and salt and pepper to taste. You may also like to include 8 small skinned potatoes (quartered and boiled), if you don’t mind what purists say.
- Arrange the ingredients on a flat platter. Start with the salad greens; they will be the bed of the salad. If you included the quartered potatoes as an ingredient, they should go on top of the greens. Add in the canned tuna afterwards. Then, place the asparagus and radish around the tuna and potatoes. Next, put in the minced onion, olives and parsley. Aim to make your salad look aesthetically pleasing; the rich and vibrant colors of the greens should stand out.
- Drizzle in olive oil. Once you’ve set the ingredients on the platter, drizzle in olive oil, the oil from the canned tuna and the red wine vinegar all across the plate. Sprinkle it with salt and pepper. If you want, you could separate this dressing and let your guests sprinkle it on their on their own in their plates.
- Know of other ingredients you could use. Feel free to combine and add ingredients according to your specific preferences. For example, you could add in anchovies, beans, hard-boiled eggs, capers, cucumber, tomatoes, and bell pepper. You could use shrimp instead of tuna. You could also modify the dressing by adding in some Dijon mustard.
The best thing about Salade Nicoise is that it’s open for modification, depending on what ingredients are currently available in your kitchen and which greens are in season. Experiment with combinations of greens, and take into account also how the flavors complement one another and what the whole salad looks like. Serve your Salade Nicoise with white wine, such as Chardonnay. Bon Appetit!