The real salade nicoise

The real salade nicoise

Salade Niçoise is well-known by the visitors to Nice, and it is now served worldwide in French- style brasseries and cafes. Unfortunately it has become a victim of its success. Many variants of this salad resemble little the authentic salade Niçoise.

Jacques Médecin, who was the mayor of Nice from 1966 to 1990, was passionate about the cuisine of the region and published a noted cookbook. His comment about the mistreatment of salade Niçoise shows the depth of the passion: “What crimes have been committed in the name of this pure, fresh salad…”.

And the mistreatment continues. In December 2013, the daily Nice-Matin wrote about the final show in the French MasterChef. In the show, a chef ètoilé, star chef, advised adding green beans and cooked potatoes in salade Niçoise. This again created outrage among the purists of the traditional cuisine Niçoise. In a real salade Niçoise there are no cooked vegetables! And no salad leaves, not even a blade of mesclun! And the salad is prepared without vinegar!

Marie Chioca, who was born in Nice, has in 2013 published a charming small cookbook Le carnet de cuisine du pays Niçois. It is a collection of family recipes. She writes about the seasonal changes when choosing ingredients for salade Niçoise. The fresh fava beans, des fèves, have a very short season in spring when they are tender enough to be eaten raw. The almost same applies to baby artichokes, petits artichauts violets jeunes. In summer, they are replaced by green pepper and cucumber. When the basil is in season, it is the choice of herb, but it could be replaced by thyme leaves. This seems reasonable.

The following recipe is my adaptation from various sources. This is a spring recipe; in summer green pepper and cucumber replace baby fava beans and artichokes. And my experience is that the small baby artichokes need to be really fresh.

Salad nicoise recipe

Preparation time:
Cooking time:
Total time:

Ingredients for 2 servings
2 round tomatoes
2 spring onions, cébettes
6 pods of baby fava beans, gousses de fèves bien jeunes
2 baby artichokes, petits artichauts violets jeunes NB ! They have a slight violet colour.
2 eggs
1 tin of tuna (optional)
8 anchovy fillets
1 clove garlic
3 tbsp olive oil
Basil or thyme leaves
10- 15 small black olives of Nice

Cook the eggs in boiling water for 8 minutes
During this time wash the tomatoes and spring onions. Cut the tomatoes in quarters, and finely slice the spring onions. Slip the beans out of their pods.

Pull off and discard the tough outer leaves of the artichokes.
Reveal the soft and light- violet inner leaves. It is better to remove a few extra soft leaves than leave some tough and inedible outer leaves!
Trim away the tops of the leaves.
Cut off the stems and bottom parts up to the point where the leaves start.
Cut artichokes into thin slices. There is a lot of advice about immersing the artichokes in lemon water to prevent them turning dark. This step is not important with the local already slightly violet baby artichokes. NB. The discoloration has nothing to do with taste or tenderness.
Rub the bottom and sides of a salad bowl with garlic pieces, and then discard the garlic. Mix all the vegetables with olive oil in the bowl.
Peel the eggs and half them. Place the egg halves, tuna and anchovy fillets on top of the salad. Serve with good whole wheat bread.
Tip: You can remove some of the salt in anchovies by soaking them in water for about 15 minutes, then dry with kitchen paper.


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