Nothing says summer in the French Riviera like a Niçoise salad. But what if you can’t see the pastel coastline or feel the warm ocean breeze on your brow? Then simply take your salad outdoors, sit under an umbrella, and sip a crisp Provençal white wine. Dreamers always have more fun.
The dressing, potatoes, and green beans can be prepared in advance—just make sure to toss the potatoes in the dressing while they’re still warm. Let the ingredients come to room temperature before assembling the salad.
For the dressing:
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, tarragon, or chives
For the salad:
8 ounces Yukon Gold potatoes (about 2 medium)
6 ounces green beans, ends trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces
Freshly ground black pepper
4 large eggs, hard-boiled and peeled
6 to 8 ounces good-quality oil-packed tuna, drained and broken into large chunks
8 ounces ripe tomatoes, sliced into 3/4-inch wedges
10 ounces Bibb or butter lettuce (about 1 head), washed, dried, and torn into bite-sized pieces
8 anchovy fillets, rinsed and patted dry
1/4 cup black olives, such as niçoise or kalamata
1. For the dressing: Whisk the vinegar, mustard, and a large pinch each of salt and pepper in a medium, nonreactive bowl until combined. Whisk in the olive oil in a slow, steady stream. Stir in the herbs, taste, and season with more salt and pepper as needed; set aside.
2. For the salad: Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan. Add enough water to cover by 2 inches, season generously with salt, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and gently boil until the potatoes are easily pierced with a knife, about 20 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the potatoes to a cutting board until cool enough to handle but still warm. (Do not let the potatoes cool completely.)
3. Meanwhile, return the water to a boil over high heat. Add more salt as needed so that the water tastes salty. Add the green beans and blanch until tender but still crisp, about 1 to 2 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold running water until cool. Spread the beans on paper towels and let them sit until dry.
4. When the potatoes are ready, slice them in half lengthwise and then cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Place in a small bowl and toss with just enough of the dressing to lightly coat. Taste, adding more dressing, salt, and pepper as needed; set aside.
5. Slice each egg lengthwise into quarters and season with salt and pepper; set aside. Place the blanched green beans, tuna, and tomatoes in separate small bowls. Toss each with just enough of the dressing to lightly coat. Taste, adding more dressing, salt, and pepper as needed; set aside. Toss the lettuce in a large bowl with just enough of the dressing to coat. Taste, adding more dressing, salt, and pepper as needed. Reserve any remaining dressing.
6. Arrange the lettuce on a large platter. Place the tuna and potatoes in the center of the lettuce, then the tomatoes, eggs, and green beans around them. Top with the anchovy fillets and olives. Serve immediately and, if you choose, with any remaining dressing on the side. Serves 4. --Jill Santopietro for CHOW.com.