Simple Nicoise Salad

“Seriously? Salad for dinner?” My boyfriend is skeptical. “Won’t I be hungry after?” There is no simple answer to this typical male question.

There’s more of a story to this meal than one isolated conversation about salad for dinner. I have a history with the nicoise. It doesn’t go back to the cote d’azur. More like a small French coffee shop in a Chinese metropolis. Taking turns with the one good outlet for my laptop as I checked e-mail and reconnected with home through a daily dose of memes over coffee. The French Cafe on Foreigners’ Street in Kunming, China–a solid standby and a great nicoise.


servings: 2

  • 1 can tuna (the good kind) preserved in olive oil
  • 2 hard boiled eggs
  • 1 handful of pitted black olives
  • 1 sizable bunch of green beans
  • 2 roma tomatoes
  • 1-2 medium yukon gold potatoes

For the vinaigrette 

  • 2 parts olive oil
  • 1 part white wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • half teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 a shallot, minced
Clean the potatoes and top and tail the green beans. Place the potatoes in a pot of cold water with a generous heap of salt and bring to the boil. Once cooked through, but still slightly al dente, remove and let cool a minute. Run under cold water for a minute to hasten the cooling process. Reserve the boiling liquid and add green beans until they become tender and bright green. Remove from water and run under cold water to stop the cooking process. If you have not done so, cook the eggs, roughly 5-7 minutes in boiling water for soft set yolk. Peel and slice or cut into wedges.
Combine oil, vinegar, a pinch of salt and pepper, mustard and minced shallot to make vinaigrette.
For assembly, slice potatoes and arrange on place in a row. Create another row of tuna, another of green beans, another of egg. Slice tomato into wedges and arrange around the plate. Sprinkle with olives. Splosh with vinaigrette and serve at room temperature or chilled.