Traditional Salad Nicoise with Grilled Tuna
[Intro music] Salad niçoise, as suggested by the name, is a specialty of the French Riviera, originating in a name for a city of Nice. I used to live in Nice and depending of whom you were talking to, salad niçoise and its ingredients were often debated. This was the topic of long discussion at the local café around glasses of Gigha. To make a salad niçoise, you will need salt, freshly ground pepper, cooked potatoes, cucumber, red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, julienne of bell peppers, radishes, julienne of green bell peppers, anchovies, black olives, Niçoise or Kalamata, red onions, tomatoes, hard boiled eggs, fresh basil, fresh tuna or canned tuna, green beans, and leaves of butter lettuce. Julienne your bell peppers. Position your fingers very well. Always cut your bell peppers skin side down. Slice your cucumber. Good. My Mise en Place is almost done. My cucumbers are sliced, my red onions, I will slice it just before using it. My radishes are clean, my tomatoes and hardboiled-eggs will be cut later on. The chiffonade of basil will be done at the last second. The potatoes are cooked and they will be cut later on. The olives, the anchovies and the bell peppers are ready. The leaves of lettuce have been washed and pat dried and my green beans are blanched and cold. So now, let’s move on to the vinaigrette. Place the seasoning in the bowl. Salt. When you use a peppermill, always grind the same way. Don’t go back and forth, left and right, left and right because that will destroy the mechanism. Add the vinegar to dissolve the salt and then whisk in the olive oil. Reserve. Plate you salad niçoise in a large platter and present it at the centre of the table or you may prepare individual portions in little bowl or soup plate like that. Okay? So, place few butter lettuce leaves on the bottom of the plate. So my lettuce was small. I’m using the help of the lettuce so I’m going to put four small leaves like that. Sometimes, if the lettuces are really big, maybe two will be enough. Then prepare the potato. So I’m going to peel my potato. So remove all the skin and remove the eyes from the potato, the black dots. Typically in French cuisine, we don’t eat the skin of the potato. In the old days, that was always used for the pig soup so French are not into eating the skin of the potatoes, rarely. Slice the potato into quarter inch slices. Place the potato in the salad. Place some bell pepper julienne on the bottom of the bowl to get some like a bed of vegetables. Then take a few green beans, cut them in half. Prepare them like a little bundle and place them on the other side of the potatoes. Then prepare the tomato. Remove the core. Slice the tomato into wedges. Cut the hard-boiled eggs into quarters. So hold, slice. Then clean the knife. Clean the side of the white. Fill the bottom here with cucumbers to get some height for the tomatoes and the eggs otherwise they will get sinking into the bowl. Continue with the egg here. Tomato. Add on it. and place the egg. Then slice the onion, few slices. Separate them. So if you are using canned tuna, then place it in the centre here but we are going to use fresh tuna today so I’m going to turn the broiler on. Place your rack on the higher level of your oven and turn your broiler on high. Place the radishes in the centre or to the outside, it’s up to you. It looks cute. If your radishes are too big, cut them in half. Put a few leaves around. Prepare the tuna steak. Cut the tuna loin in half, then diagonally to have some nice text. That way, the tuna will cook very fast. This is yellow-finned tuna but you may use ahi tuna. However, I like to use sustainable fish, this is why I’m using yellow-finned tuna because all the red tuna like ahi tuna is disappearing from our oceans right now. Place the tuna on a tray. Season –a pinch of salt, a little bit of pepper, and olive oil. So I’m going to put the olive oil on the tray and I’m going to brush the olive oil over. The olive oil really is just to nourish the tuna. You will cook your tuna really at the last minute and my tuna is pretty thin. If you put my finger, it’s thinner than my finger or it’s about the same size. So I like my tuna rare. On the raw side, rarely and I will broil it one minute, not even. Place the tuna under the broiler, 45 seconds. Serve the tuna over the salad and finish with the remaining garnishes. So, wrap an anchovy around the black olive, this is called a “queue-de-rat” if you translate, it’s like a rat-tail. Place it on the top of the tuna. I know French is very poetic. Add a few anchovies around. Cut the basil into chiffonade about two large leaves per person. So roll it. Slice the basil just before serving the salad or it will turn brown. Sprinkle all over. Make sure you don’t forget any ingredients. Then add the dressing. So mix well your dressing and pour over. If you are using canned tuna, you may prepare all your salad niçoise ahead and pour the dressing and chiffonade just before serving. And don’t forget the red onions. I knew I was forgetting something. Salad niçoise, Bon appétit!