I'll always remember the last meal I had in France. It was at a cafe right across the street from a French chateau and was served by a French waiter who was a bit annoyed with our lack of French and inability to read the menu. He bluntly refused Mr. Pin Junkie when he tried to order and then it was Mr. Pin Junkie's turn to be annoyed while I tried not to laugh at the whole comic situation. I ordered the nicoise salad and the waiter was careful to correct my pronunciation. (It's pronounced nee-swahs.)
Everything I tasted in France was delicious and my nicoise salad was no exception. However, the ingredients were mixed together rather than separate and included things that I thought were a bit unusual for a traditional nicoise salad like chopped celery and red bell pepper. So as always, I recommend starting with a basic recipe and changing it so that it suits your tastes. I would have liked to add some kalamata olives to the nicoise salad I made at home, but sadly I didn't have any in the kitchen.
Also, if you can find haricot verts (french green beans) I recommend it. They are longer and thinner than regular green beans, but more importantly they are more tender and I think they also taste better. I buy frozen ones at Trader Joe's and steam them. They are fantastic and even Pin Junkie Jr. who doesn't like vegetables prefers them over any other type of green beans.
So here's my very basic nicoise salad recipe so you can enjoy it at home too.
2 cups mixed lettuce
1/4 cup tuna (packed in water or oil)
1/2 cup green beans, steamed
1 hard boiled egg, sliced
1/2 cup boiled red potatoes
coarse salt and pepper to taste
4 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon brown mustard
In a small bowl, mix dressing ingredients until well combined.
Rinse and dry mixed lettuce.
Steam green beans until tender crisp.
Slice potatoes and hard boiled egg.
Place everything on a plate (or mix together if you'd like.) Pour dressing over salad. Season with coarse salt and pepper to taste.