Recipe and Images by Fiona Hugues
Niçoise (pronounced niˈswaz) salad originated in the French city of Nice and has been popular since the early 20th century. Its official ingredients are hotly argued about within the culinary elite. For me it is the best use of boiled eggs, tuna in a can, fresh spring beans and beloved salty olives together, and this is the way I like it. If it doesn’t float your boat on a sunny day, then off you can sail.
425g tin of tuna in springwater
¼ cup capers
½ red onion, finely chopped
6–7 soft boiled eggs, peeled and cut in half horizontally
⅓ cup plus 1–2 tbsp sauce printemps (see below)
¼ cup Greek yoghurt
¼ cup mayonnaise
½ cup mixed olives
10–12 cooked gourmet potatoes, cut lengthwise
handful of steamed green beans
cos lettuce leaves
handful of mixed cherry tomatoes, some cut in half, some left whole
Stir together the yoghurt, mayonnaise and sauce printemps. Set aside.
In a small bowl combine the chopped onion, capers and tuna with ⅓ cup sauce printemps.
In another bowl add the olives and tomatoes with a tablespoon of the sauce pintemps. Season with black pepper and set aside.
Arrange everything on a large platter, topping with a decent drizzle of the yoghurt mayonnaise down the middle. Add a drizzle of olive oil and a shower of fresh dill to finish.
A zesty sauce printemps (spring sauce), which pretty much is a french persillade or herb sauce that usually features parsley. My version isn’t exactly a traditional persillade, as I like to add other herbs and/or lemon zest, which chefs would say makes it more of a gremolata. Sometimes I use vinegar which purists would say makes it a chimichurri, but whatever the damn way you make it, I don’t care, it tastes bloody good – do add whatever you like that takes your fancy and do to it whatever makes it your own. Spoon it over everything. It’s particularly magnificent on top of dairy and ramps up your meaty ragout pasta to outstanding.
large handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped or use your favourite soft springtime herb
garlic clove, crushed
½ cup olive oil approx.
juice and zest of a large lemon
fresh ground pepper
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, taste and adjust seasoning. Add a touch of honey if your parsley is a little bitter and feel free to add more oil or lemon to suit. Best made and eaten on the day but will keep covered in the fridge overnight.