Niçoise salad

Niçoise salad

Margaret Fulton Favourites
Tanya Zouev and Armelle Habib

I first came across this salad in 1955 when I was invited to lunch by my boss’s French wife. We had lunch in her pretty sunroom and the first course was a simple and delicious niçoise salad.

Later I spent a few weeks in Provence and ate niçoise salad almost daily. I never tired of it; each day it was slightly different, depending on what the cook had on hand. Like all good salads, it is hard to ruin and usually delicious whatever the combination of ingredients, as long as they are fresh.

From its humble beginnings in the family kitchens of Nice, niçoise salad is now found on restaurant menus in every village in Provence, and many around the world.


Quantity Ingredient
500g tuna steaks
or 2 x 200g cans tuna in oil
light olive oil
lemony herbs such as lemon thyme, lemon balm and citrus leaves
500g new potatoes, scrubbed
4 large eggs, at room temperature
500g green beans, topped and tailed
1 cos lettuce or bunch of english spinach, washed and dried
3 tomatoes, each cut into eighths
1/2 cup black olives
chopped flat-leaf parsley, to garnish

Vinaigrette dressing

Quantity Ingredient
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tablespoon chopped herbs such as flat-leaf parsley, chives or oregano
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons tarragon vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil


  1. Place the tuna steaks (if using) in a snugly fitting ovenproof pan. Cover with light olive oil and add a few lemony herbs. Cover with foil and bake in a 150°C oven for about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the oil.
  2. Put the potatoes in a saucepan and cover with boiling water. Add a little salt and bring to the boil. Cook, uncovered, until the potatoes are tender, then drain. Lower the eggs carefully into warm water and bring the water slowly to the boil, stirring all the time so as to centre the yolks. Once the water is simmering, cook for 5 minutes. Drain, lightly crack the shells and leave to cool completely in cold water. Drop the prepared beans into a little boiling salted water and cook until tender yet crisp. Drain immediately, refresh under cold water and drain again.
  3. Remove the tuna from the oil. Cut into large chunks. Arrange the lettuce on the base of a platter. Slice the potatoes thickly and arrange on top of the leaves. Arrange the beans, tomatoes, olives and quartered shelled eggs, and top with slices of tuna. Garnish with parsley.
  4. For the dressing, mix together the mustard, salt, pepper, garlic, herbs, vinegars and lemon juice. Beat in the olive oil slowly to ensure the dressing remains thick and amalgamated. Beat again before using. Drizzle over the salad.
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