Rudi's Alphabet: N is for Niçoise
Rudi Liebenberg gives a traditional salad the searing treatment
Salad Niçoise is basically a mixed salad with tomatoes, green beans, tuna, anchovies, egg and artichokes, and dressed with a vinaigrette.
The traditional version does not use potatoes, but these are found in most modern recipes. I have used fresh tuna but as this is not always readily available and can be expensive, tinned tuna will do.
You can play with the ingredients and quantities to suit your own palate and preference.
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 30ml (2 tbsp) freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 50ml olive oil
- 2.5ml (½ tsp) Dijon mustard
- 15ml (1 tbsp) finely chopped parsley
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 4 ripe tomatoes, sliced or quartered
- ½ a small cucumber, seeded, sliced or cubed
- 100g green beans, blanched, refreshed and sliced
- 2 spring onions, finely sliced
- ½ a red pepper, seeded, sliced into strips
- 6 bottled or tinned artichoke hearts, quartered
- 6 new potatoes, boiled and sliced
- 8 anchovies (optional)
- 30ml (2 tbsp) capers or caper berries (optional)
- Small bunch fresh basil leaves, finely sliced
- Handful black olives, pitted
- 4 hard-boiled eggs, halved lengthways
- 200g fresh tuna (or use tinned tuna, well drained)
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the dressing and set aside.
Mix all the salad ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the dressing and toss gently to mix and coat. Arrange on a large platter or individual plates or salad bowls. Add the halved eggs and the tuna.
If using tinned tuna, flake evenly over the salad. If using fresh tuna, season the tuna fillet with salt, pepper, finely chopped fresh parsley and mustard.
Cover and allow to come to room temperature before frying. Heat a non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Rub the tuna all over with a little olive oil and sear on all sides until slightly coloured - do not overcook. Remove from the pan and rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving on the salad.
Rudi Liebenberg is executive chef at the Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town and Sunday Times Chef of the Year for 2012.