A nearly Norfolk Nicoise
PUBLISHED: 06:10 23 June 2014
ARCHANT NORFOLK PHOTOGRAPHIC © 2010
Traditionally a salad Nicoise, originally from the south of France, is made with fresh tuna seared in a griddle pan. Each Nicoise salad is unique to the cook or chef who makes it, with favourite/seasonal ingredients added.This is a lovely recipe to serve in the summer as local salad ingredients come into season. If using fresh tuna, be careful not to overcook it or it will become dry and unpalatable – you can of course use good quality tinned tuna. I like to serve it as a complete meal so I add leaves, croutons and radishes, which give more colour and provide a lot more to go around. Many years ago in a cookery book I saw a picture of a salad Nicoise where all of the ingredients were arranged individually rather than tossed together – a brilliant way of serving a salad with so many ingredients, as it does mean your guests can choose their favourite off the platter.
12 x Quail eggs
175g green beans, trimmed
450g small new potatoes
2 large tins or 3-4 fresh tuna steaks
A large bowl of salad leaves
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 small tin anchovies
A handful of radishes, topped and tailed then halved
Black olives, pitted
1 tbsp capers (optional)
6 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
1 Boil the quail eggs for 2½ minutes, then allow to cool in cold water. Once cold, peel.
2 Cook the green beans in salted boiling water for three minutes so they’ve still got some bite and blanch under cold water to stop the cooking process.
3 Cook the new potatoes in boiling water until just cooked, toss in olive oil and season then leave to cool in the pan with the lid on – this really helps keep in the flavour.
4 To cook the tuna, heat a griddle or heavy based frying pan. Brush the steaks with oil and season and cook for approximately two minutes per side. Once cooked, rest for five minutes and break into chunks.
5 To assemble, cover a large dish or platter with salad leaves. Lay each of the other ingredients in individual segments over the salad leaves.
6 To make the dressing, combine all of the ingredients in a jam jar, screw on the lid and shake well to combine.Taste and season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
7 Just before serving, drizzle some of the dressing over the platter and put the rest in a jug to serve individually.