Pantry Wars: Episode IV – A Niçoise Hope

Salad Niçoise is one of my favorite foods but whenever I order it in a cafe or restaurant, I’m always disappointed. Max London’s in Saratoga Springs makes a good one, but it’s not on their regular menu, so I’m totally out of luck. I like my Niçoise verrry salty, thus I head to my pantry for a dusty can of anchovies. This version is pretty salty and not exactly authentic. I use oil-cured olives instead of the real deal Niçoise ones because A) I like them better and B) they are available at the olive bar in my grocery store. Some fancy pants restaurants like to use sushi-grade seared tuna, but I think that ruins the whole package. Luckily I had a can of white tuna in my pantry, thus successfully cleaning out two canned items in this recipe. This salad is pretty labor intensive, so unless you’re a single food masochist like myself, I would suggest making this for a large group of people. As long as you make some of the stuff ahead of time like the potatoes, eggs and green beans, it’s mostly just assembly. Actually it’s important to make that stuff a day before because you want it to be cold. I can honestly say that my version, helped by the delicious spicy arugula from the farmer’s market, is the best I’ve ever had. So, take my word for it and try it out.

Salad Niçoise

Serves 1 (double as necessary)

Ingredients for the salad:

3 cups wild arugula

1/3 cup chopped tomatoes

1 medium red skinned potato

1/4 cup oil-cured olives

1/3 cup canned tuna

1 hard-boiled egg

1/3 cup green beans

1 Tbs chopped red onions

Ingredients for the dressing:

makes enough for three servings

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 can anchovies

1 clove garlic, mashed

1/2 tbs Dijon mustard


1. At least 6 hours before: roast the chopped potatoes with some olive oil and salt on a baking sheet for about an hour at 350. Boil the egg and blanch the green beans. Chill everything.

2. Chop up the vegetables into bite sized pieces and arrange on a platter around the arugula.

3. Mash the garlic and anchovies together in a bowl, add the dijon, then the olive oil and beat more. This would work really well in a food processor, but make sure you have a good dishwasher, otherwise your beloved cuisinart will wreak of anchovies for the rest of it’s life.

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