Rainbow Nicoise Salad with an Amazing Vinaigrette
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
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Yield: 4 lunch or dinner sized servings or 6 small servings
The vinaigrette for this salad is ethereal!
  • ¼ cup red or white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1-2 tablespoons honey (taste and add second tablespoon if needed)
  • 1¼ cup extra virgin olive oil (I used light olive oil, but for those who like a stronger olive flavor, extra-virgin is perfect)
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 to 3 anchovy filets, chopped
  • pinch of Kosher salt
  • ¼ cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • 1 tablespoon chopped thyme leaves
  • Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 6 ounces baby spinach leaves
  • 1 pint red grape or teardrop tomatoes
  • 4 carrots, peeled
  • 2 yellow bell peppers
  • 4 hard boiled eggs
  • ½ lb haricots verts (skinny French green beans), ends snapped off
  • 1 lb small blue or purple potatoes *
  • ½ lb nicoise or any small black or purple olives
  • 1 lb fresh, raw tuna, or two ½ lb hunks of raw, tuna, (Bluefin tuna is the best!) super fresh, sushi-grade (about 4 oz per person) - if you prefer it well done, it doesn't have to be sushi-grade
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Make the vinaigrette. Finely chop the garlic together with the chopped anchovies and a pinch of kosher salt, to almost a paste. Add to jar with a tight lid, along with the rest of the ingredients - shake vigorously. If you're using a bowl, add all ingredients to the bowl except the olive oil, and while whisking, slowly drizzle in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. You can also make the vinaigrette in a food processor, drizzling in the olive oil while the other ingredients chop, but you'll get a thicker, creamy dressing. Not a bad thing; your choice. If you have time..let this vinaigrette sit at room temperature for an hour or more to let the flavors amalgamate. Even better, make it the day before. then put it in the fridge overnight. Take it out, let come to room temperature, and shake again before serving.
  2. Boil the eggs. Bring a medium pot of salted water and the eggs (water should be 1-inch over the eggs and the eggs should fit on the bottom in one layer..no overlapping) to a rolling boil, remove from the heat, and cover tightly for 12 minutes. Once the 12 minutes are up, remove the eggs and peel under running, cold water. Put the peeled eggs in a bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Place the bowl in the fridge until ready to assemble the salad.
  3. In a ziplock bag or bowl which you will cover tightly with plastic wrap, pour about ¼ cup of the vinaigrette over the tuna steaks and let marinate in the fridge for one hour, turning after ½ hour.
  4. WASH all of the vegetables well, scrubbing the potatoes (water only). Bring a large pot of heavily salted water and the whole potatoes, unpeeled, to a boil. Boil for about 15 minutes (less if they're small) until tender. Remove from boiling water and let cool. Slice and toss with a some of the vinaigrette.
  5. Peel the yellow peppers with a vegetable peeler (you don't have to peel them, I just like to for certain salads). Cut them open, scrape out the seeds and any white pith, then cut into strips or bite-sized pieces. Peel the carrots, then shred them on a grater or use the shredding disk in your food processor. Toss all the vegetables, separately. with a little of the vinaigrette. Snap the ends off the green beans and bring another pot of salted water to a boil.
  6. Fill a bowl with cold water and lots of ice. Place the green beans in the boiling water and let boil for 30 seconds to 2 minutes - 3 at the most, depending on the thickness of your beans. Haricots verts shouldn't need more than 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  7. Strain the green beans, then dump them all into the bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and keep them bright green. Let them cool completely in the water, then remove, dry, and toss with some of the vinaigrette.
  8. Heat a medium saute pan or skillet until hot, Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, Remove the tuna steak or steaks from the marinade. Shake off excess marinade, then dab steaks with a clean tea towel to dry them. Season each side well with kosher salt and black pepper. Place the steak(s) into the pan and let sear on every side for 1 to 3 minutes, depending on the thickness of the tuna, and how rare you prefer it. I cooked mine less than one minute per side, (I like it very rare, but you can cook it all the way through to well done, if you like - 3 minutes per side, again depending on the thickness of the tuna) . If necessary, h old the steak up with tongs to sear the sides around both flat surfaces. Remove from pan and let sit for about 10 minutes. Once rested, slice into strips, about ¼ to ½ - inch thick.
  9. Assemble salad. Toss the baby spinach leaves with some of the vinaigrette, then divide the spinach equally between four plates, or pile onto one big platter. In the following order, lay out rows of the grape tomatoes, carrots, yellow peppers, hard-boiled eggs - quartered vertically, green beans, sliced tuna, blue or purple potatoes sliced or cut how you like, and olives. Pass the dressing and serve with a nice, warm, crusty, loaf of bread and butter.
* If you can't find blue or purple potatoes, use red skinned or any waxy potato. If you can't find haricots verts, use any fresh green bean that's available.
Recipe by parsley sage sweet at https://www.parsleysagesweet.com/2012/04/27/a-twist-on-salade-nicoise-for-monthly-mingle-april-in-paris-and-part-10/