French Riviera Salad (My Interpretation of the Niçoise Salad)
In this blog post I’m offering you my own interpretation of the French Riviera salad. Since it is coming from Nice It is also known as Niçoise salad. I’ve seen many different takes on this delicious salad. Even the French chefs cannot agree on the ingredients and the dressing for this recipe. During the 19th century the original Niçoise salad was prepared with tomatoes, olives, boiled eggs and tuna or anchovies. The dressing was a drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice. Over time this salad became very popular and the chefs around the world added more and more ingredients to the original recipe.
I honestly believe that my recipe turned out very good. All the vegetables go so well with the herby dressing. There is an excellent balance between bitter, sour, salty and sweet notes.
Why should you make this recipe?
My inspiration to create this recipe came from all the fresh, seasonal and local produce at the farmer’s market. I bought fresh lettuce, baby potatoes, cherry tomatoes and crispy green beans. When I got home, I sat down and wrote down the recipe. It turned out so delicious that I had to share it with you.
This salad is naturally gluten-free. The recipe doesn’t contain wheat or grains. If you have gluten allergy, please check the ingredient list on the mustard you use. Mustard is usually gluten-free, but some brands add thickeners that may contain gluten.
This recipe is also dairy-free. This makes it suitable for people with lactose intolerance.
The French Riviera salad is heart healthy. The fish and the olive oil contain healthy omega-3 amino acids. They are known to reduce inflammation in the body and promote healthy cardiovascular system.
This salad is a complete meal. It can definitely satisfy at least two hungry people. It contains a great variety of vegetables, lean protein and healthy fats.
Use only fresh eggs, bought from reliable source. There is always slight risk of salmonella contamination when you consume runny egg yolks. Although, it is very unlikely to get salmonella infection from store bought eggs. Please, don’t serve undercooked eggs to kids, pregnant women, older adults and immunocompromised people.
My baby potatoes were slightly bigger than a bite size, so I had to cut them. You can leave them whole if they are small.
Always place the potatoes in cold water and then bring to boil. It is the opposite with the green beans. When you cook them, you have to bring the water to a boil first and then add them to the pot. Add salt to the water. This will season the vegetables as they cook.
For this recipe I used tuna with a low mercury content. If you are pregnant you shouldn’t consume any mercury. I recommend to replace the tuna with salmon or sardines.
You can use other lettuce for this salad. I used Romaine, because that is what I had, but I think that the salad will taste great with iceberg or butter lettuce too.
Some of the olives I used for this recipe had pits. I prefer olives with pits because they have more flavor. You can use whatever olives you like. I don’t recommend serving olives with pits to small kids and elderly.
French Riviera Salad (Niçoise Salad)
For the salad
- 8 oz baby potatoes
- 8 oz green beans
- 2 large eggs
- 1 Romaine lettuce
- ½ cup cherry tomatoes
- ¼ cup olives I used different varieties
- 1 canned tuna in water 5 oz drained
For the dressing
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp honey
- 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- the juice from one lemon or more to taste
- ¼ cup chopped fresh herbs I used a mix of parsley, chives and thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
To cook the potatoes
- Wash the potatoes and cut them to bite size pieces. Place them in a pot with cold water. Bring the water to boil and add some salt. Boil for about 10 minutes or until they are fork-tender. Once they are ready drain the water. Allow them to cool down.
To cook the green beans
- Add another pot filled with water on the stovetop. Bring it to a boil. Wash and trim the ends of the green beans. Cut them to bite sized pieces. Add a pinch of salt and the green beans to the boiling water. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until the green beans are tender but still slightly crisp. Drain the water and immediately add to a bowl filled with cold water and ice.
To prepare soft boiled eggs
- Remove the eggs from the refrigerator. Fill a medium pot with enough water to cover an egg. Bring the water to boil. Use a spoon to add the eggs to the boiling water. Then set a timer for 6 minutes for smaller eggs and 7 minutes for bigger eggs. If you want them hard boiled increase the time for 9-10 minutes. While the eggs are cooking prepare a bowl with an ice bath. Once the timer beeps use a slotted spoon to remove the eggs from the boiling water and place them in the ice bath. Cool off for few minutes and peel.
To make the dressing
- Add the chopped herbs, mustard, olive oil, honey and lemon juice in a bowl and stir until combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste and stir again.
To assemble the salad
- Peel and cut the eggs to quarters. Wash and chop the lettuce. Drain the tuna. Place the lettuce on a large plate, then add the cooked potatoes, cherry tomatoes, tuna, olives, quartered eggs and green beans. Drizzle the dressing on top of the salad.
- Store any leftovers in the refrigerator in a container with a lid for 2-3 days.