As far as all of the salads I’ve made in my life go, the Niçoise may be the most preparation-heavy; trust that it won’t be time wasted. With each pot placed on the stovetop, the anticipation of what’s to come inspires — the vision of a beautiful, balanced and thoughtfully assembled salad featuring the height of the season’s produce is a terrifically powerful thing.
To achieve the full, romantic (and, yes, reductive) French experience, I paired the salad with a nice glass of wine, a 2010 Grenache from Cedarville Vineyard — the slight char on the seared tuna works wonderfully with the touch of minerality in this elegant red. And if whites are more your thing, I bet a well-chilled glass of their crisp, bright Viognier would be a terrific accompaniment.
Seared Tuna Salade Niçoise
Preparation Time: About 1 hour, less if you have multiple pots going at once
This salad keeps surprisingly well tightly wrapped in the fridge once assembled — just don’t add vinaigrette to the whole thing until right before serving, but you knew that already — for best results, I suggest removing it from the fridge about 30 minutes before serving to take the chill off. With that said, I can only imagine that if the salads are assembled in two separate storage containers with dressing on the side, they would travel well enough for a lovely picnic!
- 1 packed tablespoon (14 grams) minced shallot
- 1 teaspoon (5 grams) whole grain Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon (5 grams) smooth Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons (28 grams) red wine vinegar
- 1/8 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/4 cup (57 grams) olive oil
- Ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/4 pound (4 ounces/113 grams) sashimi-grade tuna, set at room temp for about 30 minutes before searing
- 1/4 pound (4 ounces/113 grams, from about 1 small head) torn leaf lettuce
- 1/4 pound (4 ounces/113 grams or about 1 medium) red potato, cut into bite-size cubes, steam until tender
- 1/8 pound (2 ounces/57 grams) cherry tomatoes, halve
- 1/8 pound (2 ounces/57 grams grams) green beans, preferably haricot vert, trim/discard stem ends and blanch (boil til tender, shock in ice water, drain)
- 2 large hardboiled eggs, peel and quarter just before plating
- 10 Niçoise or Kalamata olives
- Snipped chives, to taste (optional)
- Ground black pepper, to taste
- Maldon sea salt or Kosher salt, to taste
In a small bowl, whisk together shallot through salt. Slowly whisk in olive oil to create a nicely emulsified vinaigrette. Toss steamed potatoes with about 1 tablespoon of the vinaigrette; set aside remaining dressing.
Preheat a dry, uncoated stainless steel pan or small cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Rub tuna on all sides with about 1 teaspoon of the prepared vinaigrette. Once pan is hot, sear tuna for about 30 seconds – 1 minute, flip over with a thin spatula, sear second side for 30 seconds – 1 minute. Remove to a heatproof cutting board and allow to rest for a couple minutes.
While seared tuna rests, assemble salads. Divide lettuce between two plates, top each with half of the potatoes, green beans, tomatoes, eggs and olives. Slice tuna against the grain into about 1/4″ – 1/2″ thick slices; divide between the salads. Season to taste with chopped chives (optional), fresh pepper and flaky sea salt or Kosher salt. Drizzle salads with vinaigrette. Serve immediately with any leftover dressing on the side.