Salade nicoise is a composed salad of tomatoes, tuna, hard-boiled eggs, Nicoise olives, and anchovies, dressed with a vinaigrette. It is served variously on a plate, platter, or in a bowl, with or without a bed of lettuce. Freshly cooked or canned tuna may be used.
The salad may include raw red peppers, shallots, artichoke hearts and other seasonal raw vegetables, but according to many sources, excludes cooked vegetables, except green beans and potatoes, which are commonly served in variations of salade niçoise around the world. Green beans harvested in the spring, when they are still young and crisp, may be present.
How to make it
Put the eggs in a pan of cold water and bring slowly to the boil. Simmer for 7½ minutes, then decant into a bowl of iced water. Meanwhile, pod and then peel the broad beans (if using French beans, top and tail them, then cook in salted boiling water until just tender and decant into iced water) and drop the tomatoes into boiling water for 15 seconds, then peel, slice and deseed them. Peel the cucumber in stripes, then deseed and cut into half moons.
Make the dressing by pounding the garlic to a paste in a pestle and mortar along with a pinch of coarse salt. Add the anchovies and then the basil, and pound to a paste, adding the olive oil and the vinegar as you go. Season with black pepper.
To put the salad together, toss the beans, tomatoes, cucumber, spring onion and red pepper together with two-thirds of the dressing and decant on to a plate. Peel and quarter the eggs and arrange on top, along with the olives, capers, anchovy strips and basil leaves. Spoon the remaining dressing over the salad and serve immediately.