Fresh tuna niçoise

Fresh tuna niçoise

Elisa Watson

This more sophisticated version of your average tuna salad is a great dish for entertaining. The rest of the salad can be assembled a few hours ahead, but leave the tuna and poached eggs until last to make it restaurant quality. Don’t leave out the tuna mayonnaise. It really is the best part!


Quantity Ingredient
250g green beans, trimmed
300g kipfler (fingerling) potatoes
60ml olive oil, plus extra to rub on the tuna
80ml vinegar
4 eggs
600g yellow fin tuna fillets
sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, for seasoning
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
12 baby cos (romaine) leaves
200g vine-ripened cherry tomatoes, halved
squeeze of lemon
dill sprigs, to garnish
edible flowers, to garnish (optional)

Black olive tapenade dressing

Quantity Ingredient
80g black kalamata olives, pitted and finely diced
1 tablespoon capers in brine, drained and finely diced
20g flat-leaf (italian) parsley, finely shredded
1/4 red chilli, seeded and finely diced
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

Tuna Mayonnaise

Quantity Ingredient
500g Mayonnaise
200g tinned tuna, drained
1 tablespoon capers in brine, drained
juice of 1/2 lemon
4 anchovy fillets

Tuna spice mix

Quantity Ingredient
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, freshly ground
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, freshly ground


  1. Fill a saucepan with 2 litres (68 floz/8 cups) water and bring to the boil. Blanch the green beans for 90 seconds, then drain and refresh in cold water. Drain again, then transfer to a plate lined with paper towel.
  2. Place the potatoes in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Add a pinch of salt, then bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to medium–low and simmer for 12–15 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked and soft when pierced with a knife. Drain the potatoes and, while they’re still warm, peel and cut into slices.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large non-stick frying pan over high heat. Pan-fry the sliced potatoes in batches, adding more oil as needed, until they are brown and crispy on both sides. Drain on paper towel to soak up the excess oil.
  4. Cut the tuna fillet into three pieces and rub all over with oil, then season generously with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large non-stick frying pan over high heat and sear the tuna for about 20 seconds on each side. Set aside to cool
  5. Make the black olive tapenade dressing by combining all the ingredients in a bowl.
  6. To make the tuna mayonnaise, combine all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.
  7. Brush the tuna pieces with the mustard and roll in a bowl with the combined tuna spice mix. Slice into 1.5 cm (½ in) pieces.
  8. Bring a small saucepan of water to the boil and add the vinegar. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, give the water a swirl and crack in the eggs, one at a time. Cook for 3 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon and rest on paper towel.
  9. To assemble, arrange some cos leaves on a plate and top with one-third of the sliced tuna, green beans, potatoes, tomatoes and tapenade. Repeat with two more layers, finishing with spoonfuls of tapenade, lemon juice and the dill sprigs. Top with the soft-poached eggs and edible flowers, if using. Serve with the tuna mayonnaise.
Jewish cooking
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