Spinach Nicoise Salad

Nicoise is a type of salad historically made with raw vegetables. The Nicoise salad is believed to have originated at the start of the 1900’s on the French Rivera in Nice, France. Traditionally Nicoise Salad contained anchovies, artichoke hearts, olives, tomatoes and peppers, with a dressing made of olive oil, vinegar and mustard. The vegetables were arranged separately on a platter rather than tossed together.

Years passed before tuna (canned tuna) became the main ingredient in Nicoise salad. Today additional vegetables have been added such as broad beans, chopped boiled eggs, wedged tomatoes, celery, green peppers, red peppers, radishes, capers and onions. Julia Child’s was instrumental in the addition of cooked green beans and potatoes served in groups on a bed of Boston lettuce. Julia insisted that each ingredient be tossed in the dressing separately before assembling them on the plate.

Source: Adapted from “Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom” by Julia Child
Serves 6-8

Makes about 2/3 cups
1/2 tablespoons finely minced shallot or scallion
1/2 tablespoon Dijon-type mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, (optional)
1/2 tablespoon wine vinegar
1/3 to 1/2 cup excellent olive oil, or other fine, fresh oil
Freshly ground pepper

In a small bowl whisk the shallots, mustard and salt. Whisk in the lemon juice and vinegar until well blended. Add the oil in a slow drizzle whisking until well blended. Beat in freshly ground pepper. Taste (dip a piece of the salad greens into the sauce) and correct seasoning with salt, pepper, and/or drops of lemon juice. Set aside.

Or add all the ingredients to a jar with a screw top lid. Shake to combine.

16 oz baby spinach
1 pound green beans, steamed and cut in half
1-1/2 tablespoons minced shallots
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 or 4 ripe plumb tomatoes, cut into wedges (or 10 to 12 cherry tomatoes, halved)
3 or 4 new potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch slices
3 (5-ounce) cans chunk tuna, preferably oil-packed
6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and cut into wedges
1/3 cup black olives, chopped
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 freshly opened can of flat anchovy fillets (optional)
2 to 3 tablespoons capers (optional)

Bring a medium sized pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes. Boil for about 6 min, drain, run under cool water.

Arrange the spinach leaves on a large platter or in a shallow bowl.

Shortly before serving, toss the beans with the shallots, spoonfuls of vinaigrette, and salt and pepper. Baste the tomatoes with a spoonful of vinaigrette.

Place the potatoes in the center of the platter and arrange a mound of beans at either end, with tomatoes and small mounds of tuna at strategic intervals.

Ring the platter with wedges of hard-boiled eggs, sunny side up, and curl an anchovy on top of each (if using). Spoon more vinaigrette over all; scatter on olives, capers, and parsley, and serve.

To serve place spinach on a plate. Top with and crumble 1 additional can tuna over top. Add 3 hard cooked eggs peeled and cut into wedges, and serve immediately.

Or do it the American way and toss it all together and serve.