Salade Nicoise Recipe-the real deal

personal chef fort lauderdale

personal chef fort lauderdaleWe often put our own spin on recipes.  That is what makes them our own. It is often said that recipes are like road maps.  You should use them the first few times then feel free to improvise and take a detour.  At least that is what we always tell our students. How ever, classics are classics for a reason.  You will find different versions of the Salade Nicoise even in Nice. Different families will have their on version and depending on availability of ingredients some may use one vegetable rather than another.  According to Jacques Médecin in his book Cuisine Niçoise there are certain rules that MUST be followed, one is you either use tinned oil packed tuna or anchovies, not both. I must admit that I have found chefs in Nice that do use both and the locals do not seem to mind. The second rule of thumb is no cooked vegetables are to be added. There go the green beans and potatoes so often include.  Boiled eggs are fine. In all honesty I use both in my Salade Saumonée de Nicoise, but then again I used salmon, not tuna AND anchovies. Because Nice has only been been part of France since 1860 much Nicoise cooking is simple and not overly saucy.  In the classic salad no vinaigrette is used (especially one with Dijon type mustard), just a good fruity olive oil with fresh herbs and a sprinkle of sea salt and pepper. You can use regular lettuce, but most common is a mesclun.  Mesclun always has a mixture of five (5) different leaves and  may include mâche, lettuce, chicory, arugula, escarole and radicchio or even baby spinach, purslane and dandelion.

We could not find any baby artichokes or fava beans in our part of South Florida, we did find frozen edamame, so that is what we used.

You can make one large salad or compose them individually. In either case try to sketch out what is going where.  It makes it much easier.

personal chef fort lauderdale

Serves 4   

4 large, ripe tomatoes
2 clove garlic, peeled and halved
2 small cucumber, peeled, seeded, and sliced
4 spring onions, or 1 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup/180g peeled fava beans or baby artichoke (you don’t need to cook them)
2/3 cup/110g small black olives, preferably Niçoise olives, unpitted
1 green or red bell pepper cut into either thin strips or medium dice
1 head of lettuce, torn or shredded (we like Boston or Bibb)
4 boiled eggs, peeled and cut either into 4 wedges each or in half
6 tablespoons/90ml extra virgin olive oil
Small handful chopped fresh basil  
Small handful chopped flat-leaf parsley
freshly ground black pepper
8 anchovy fillets or a 6 ounce (180g) tin of  oil packed tuna

Rub the clove of garlic all over the insides of a wooden salad bowl, or if making individual salads, you can crush the clove and let it flavour the oil. Cut the tomatoes into wedges and put them in a colander. Sprinkle them with salt, and let them drain for a few minutes while you arrange the salad. Place lettuce in a bowl or individual chilled plates.  Arrange the cucumber, onions, fava beans, olives, peppers and tomatoes on the lettuce. Mix the olive oil with the herbs and a bit of salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes to the bowl or plates. If using tuna drain and toss with herbed oil. Arrange on salad. Place the eggs on top of the salad and drape one anchovy fillet over each piece. Drizzle the salad with the herbed and seasoned olive oil.  

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