If you’re anything like me, you spent your Memorial Day weekend being a little too indulgent. And now, with the week ahead of me, all I really want is a nice leafy, green, fresh salad. Enter the nicoise salad. As in THIS nicoise salad. I’m gonna be real here for a minute and tell you that I’ve made this salad mutiple times and may have had it for two days straight, every. single. meal.
How gorg is this perfectly summertime salad, with its fresh veggies and greens? And did I mention the herby goodness? This is a mid-week pause worthy dinner. As in, forget the takeout/delivery, make dinner like a boss in no time, and enjoy those warm fuzzies because you just had a knock-your-socks off low carb, healthy, grownup, classy meal. All without breaking the bank and without spending a lot of time in the kitchen– exactly what I need right now with my packed week!
Summer is the time to enjoy the outdoors, bbq, run around the with the kiddos, and soak up some much needed (& deserved) sun. Because this is life. This is REAL life. And real life deserves food that isn’t fussy. Like going through your cabinets and finding a can of tuna. What the heck can you do with a can of tuna other than tuna salad? And omg the fishy smell- I’m not a fan and I suspect you’re not either. But this nicoise salad takes an ordinary can of tuna, blends it with giardiniera peppers and fresh, fresh, fresh herbs and it’s not the same 15 cent can of tuna you got on sale three months ago. It’s tart, flavorful, and bold. Of course, you can adjust the amount of peppers to your spice preference but I personally follow the ‘leave no pepper behind’ school of thought.
I know there are nicoise purists out there, rolling their eyes because this isn’t exactly a classical nicoise salad. But of the handful of the readers who know me in real life know that there is absolutely nothing old school about me, other than my taste in cookware. I can’t help it; I have never been able to follow a recipe. Something about doctoring it up to make it my own has always been my road because, after all, food is a part of my narrative and it’s deeply personal. That’s also probably why I will never be a top notch baker save banana bread and doughnuts, and even the doughnuts aren’t baked. But regular can be boring, amiright? And I’m 1,000% okay with all of it. Especially if it means I have this salad in my life.
No, I won’t settle for a deconstructed salad. Certainly, it makes for a beautiful presentation but my updated and more modern twist is so much more fun and practical ?. You get to toss in so much bright, vibrant color with fresh tomatoes, perhaps from the teeming summer garden and those of us who don’t have a summer garden will be so jealous but not in a i-hate-you sorta way. More of a in-awe-of-you sorta way. And while you’re at it, grab liberal handfuls of those sweet smelling herbs you have tucked away back there. Go on, your salad is waiting!
Guys, this is heaven. And if you’re like me and haven’t quite had the time to get the gardening started, store-bought is perfectly acceptable, and even encouraged because we are all rockstars this summer ?! Just let those colors hang out all over plate and mingle. We encourage mingling here.
So the thing about nicoise salad that’s always been a deal-breaker for me has been the anchovies. If you are a lover of anchovies in their whole form, I applaud your courage and daredevilish nature. I’m fine with anchovies blended into sauces and dressings, where they add a lot of saltiness and richness to the dish. But I stop at eating them whole. My compromise for this salad was to chop them up and toss them in with the rest of the ingredients so I don’t have to worry about getting a giant piece in a bite. That worked for me but if you don’t love it or get queasy thinking about them, just leave them out. But don’t let the presence of anchovies be the deciding factor in your nicoise game. This is one of the places where the purists and I differ. See, we can still get along.
The eggs are the most understated ingredient in this salad. I’m gonna let you in on a little secret; until recently, I hadn’t ever had a full, hard-boiled egg in my life. One of my earliest memories is of me hating hard-boiled eggs. I’m so serious; what kind of deranged person doesn’t like hard-boiled eggs?! The greyish ring between the yolk and whites is a major turn off- especially when you think that’s the norm. But guys, hard-boiled eggs aren’t actually supposed to have that ring. I had a life-changing experience when I made and ate a perfectly, bright yellow yolked hard-boiled egg. It was one of the things I had to master as a food blogger because food blogging is lyfe! Cover the eggs with cold water, about two inches higher, on high heat, bring the eggs to a rolling boil for exactly one minute. Cover, remove from heat, and let stand for 5-7 minutes, depending on how set you like the eggs. For me, five minutes is perfect. Drain the hot water and cover with cold water, then start peeling.
This salad = winning. It is so much ridiculous amounts of winning at life. You know what else=winning? I will now be providing nutritional info for most of my recipes, on each blog post, so you don’t have to go plug in the data anywhere else. And for the more indulgent goodies, don’t be mad when you see the info. I heard you, and continue to hear each of you, when you make requests for recipes, improvements, or ask for advice in general. And a lot of you have requested nutritional info so scroll down, all the way at the bottom of the post, and there it will be. I’ll be working in the few weeks to add the same label to all the older recipes.
- 1/2 cup red cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 cup yellow cherry tomatoes
- 4 cups spring mix (or any salad greens)
- 1/2 cup black olives, sliced
- 1 5 oz can tuna packed in water, drained
- 2 tbsp giardiniera, drained and chopped
- 1 tbsp capers
- 4–5 anchovy fillets, chopped
- 4 hardboiled eggs, peeled and quartered
- 2 tbsp mint, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
- >FOR THE DRESSING:>
- 2 tbsp dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp honey
- 2 tbsp hot water
- 1 tsp worcestershire sauce
- juice of 1 lemon (2 tbsp juice)
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- MAKE THE DRESSING:In a bowl, whisk together mustard, olive oil, honey, lemon juice until completely combined. Slowly whisk in salt, black pepper, lemon zest, and worcestershire sauce. Add enough water to thin out to desired consistency. Set aside.
- MAKE THE TUNA SALAD: Carefully flake the tuna and toss with giardiniera peppers, mint, and parsley. Add 3-4 tbsp of dressing and toss salad, being careful not to shred the tuna. Set aside,
- ASSEMBLE THE SALAD: In a large bowl, toss salad greens, olives, tomatoes, capers, and anchovies with the remaining dressing*. Divide into four servings, add 4 pieces of egg, and tuna.
*you may not use all the dressing if you prefer less dressing, like me.