Tuna Nicoise Salad with Jammy Eggs

by Emily Kemme
tuna nicoise salad

Tuna Nicoise salad is the ultimate hands-off summertime meal. With a bare minimum of slicing, a little whisking for the dressing, and then quick assembly, it’s one of those go-to salads that can be on the table in 15 minutes. 

The only cooking involves preparation of the jammy hard boiled eggs. This takes all of 8 minutes, or up to 10 minutes if you prefer firmer yolks.

In these days of stratified salad artistry, think of Tuna Nicoise as the first “composed” salad. The added herbs — basil, mint, and tarragon leaves — create a complex bite of flavor that complements the oily tuna.

The French have so many better things to enjoy than cooking on a sultry summer evening. And so do you.

Tuna Nicoise Salad Recipe

For dressing:

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

salt and pepper to taste

Place dressing ingredients except for salt and pepper in bowl and whisk until emulsified. Salt and pepper to taste.

To prepare Tuna Nicoise Salad:

2 small heads baby lettuce, washed, trimmed, and torn into pieces

1/2 Bermuda (red) onion, peeled, thinly sliced

1 Persian cucumbers

Note: Cucumber 101

In addition to what are called “slicing cucumbers” — the ones with thick skins and solid green coloration, there are other cucumber varieties which are ideal for salads. Thin-skinned, slender, and nearly seedless, the Persian cucumber is about 5 to 6 inches in length and is sturdy and firm. It’s not as smooth as the garden variety, but tends to have fine ridges down its length. The English cucumber is also a good salad option.

1 cup yellow cherry tomatoes, halved

Fresh basil leaves, washed and torn

Fresh mint leaves, washed and shredded

Fresh tarragon leaves, washed and stripped from stems

1 — 5 ounce can olive-oil packed tuna, undrained

Note: if your grocery store doesn’t carry oil-packed tuna, substitute with canned tuna in water. Rinse and drain before using.

1 avocado, peeled and diced

2 hard boiled eggs, sliced in half lengthwise

Bring water in medium pot to boil. Place eggs on long handled spoon and lower gently into water. Cook for 8 minutes. Transfer eggs to ice water bath. Peel under cool running water before serving and slice in half lengthwise. The yolks should be jammy.

Note: If firmer yolks are desired, cook for up to 10 minutes according to taste.

Combine lettuce, onion, cucumber, tomatoes, and herbs in large bowl and toss gently with dressing. Arrange salad on plates or shallow bowls.

Arrange tuna, avocado, and eggs on top of salad.

Serves 2.

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