Culinary Arts

Classic French Niçoise Salad Recipe

Written by MasterClass

Jun 24, 2019 • 1 min read

Like most staples of classical French cooking—lookin’ at you, ratatouille and coq au vinsalade niçoise hails from humble beginnings.

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Foundations of a Niçoise Salad

In its very simplest 19th century iteration, this composed salad from the seaside city of Nice, France, featured just tomatoes, anchovies, and olive oil. In a world where adding a dash of capers to a dish can rock the very foundations of culinary identity, the niçoise has since evolved into a flexible format.

Variations appear in just a range of reputable sources, from the Larousse to Escoffier to former mayors of Nice—some include tuna, some don’t; some say it’s a summer salad that shouldn’t see even a second of cooking time; some say, well, anything goes. At its core, the niçoise salad is meant to be your perfect salad, so build the flavor profile instinctively from those original few must-haves: tomato, anchovy, and olive oil.

Classic Niçoise Salad Recipe

Because a classic niçoise is a composed salad with no cooked ingredients, making one couldn’t be easier. Just stick to seasonal produce at the height of its game, whip up a quick vinaigrette, and make it all look good on the plate. Favas look good at the market? Add ‘em. Ramps in season? You bet they belong here.

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1 handful green beans, ideally haricots verts (if you’d like, blanch the haricots verts in boiling water, drain, and shock them in ice water for extra snap)
  • ¼ cup olives, pitted (kalamata olives, black olives, or niçoise olives)
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved (or 1 small heirloom tomato, large-diced or quartered)
  • ½ cup red potatoes or new potatoes, boiled, cooled, and halved if large
  • 3-4 anchovy fillets
  • 1 hard-boiled egg, halved or quartered

Optional:

  • Finely chopped red onion or shallots (let them sit in a tablespoon or two of fresh lemon juice for a light pickle before adding)
  • Tuna, whether in the form of grilled fresh tuna steaks or cured in olive oil
  • Asparagus, blanched
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Loose herbs, like fresh basil leaves or fresh thyme
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper.
  2. Arrange the salad components in snug, separate piles on the plate, or mix together and toss with as much vinaigrette as you’d like.

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