Nicoise salad is a kind of salad dish prepared with various vegetables and topped with canned tuna or anchovy often including both kinds of fishes and it is a specialty of the French province of Cote D’Azur with the salad being named after the city of Nice. The French name for the Nicoise salad is Salade Niçoise which is often called the insalata nizzarda as well.
The traditional Nicoise salad recipe consists of the salad being served on a flat plate or platter and rests on a bed of lettuce leaves. Ripe red tomato wedges, steamed green beans and sliced hard boiled eggs are the common ingredients found in a Nicoise salad. Boiled baby potatoes are cut into halves and served along with the salad too. The vegetables are topped with canned anchovies and tuna before being served. The Nicoise salad recipe recommends a dressing of vinaigrette.
Originally the Nicoise salad contained only vegetables in its raw form with shallots, artichoke hearts and red peppers being added to the platter. Boiled potatoes or any form of cooked vegetables were strictly discouraged with the people of Nice preferring to eat their Nicoise salad as a crudet.
History Of The Nicoise Salad Recipe
The origin of the Nicoise salad is disputed with most of the food historians claiming that it as a Provencal dish. The popular choreographer Balanchine is also credited with influencing the Nicoise salad recipe during his stay at Monte Carlo.
The Americans got to taste the Nicoise salad only after it was introduced by the famous chef Julia Child.
Serving the salad on a bed of lettuce is not acceptable to some regions of France who prefer to use tomatoes as the base. Several other French regions toss the Nicoise salad together with the dressing without adhering to any kind of specific arrangement of the vegetables.
Ingredients And The Popular Nicoise Salad Recipe
The ingredients of the most popular salad recipe are the one prepared by Julia Child. It is particularly colorful with the green beans, ripe red tomatoes and black olives providing the right kind of contrasting colors to the dish. Boiled potatoes, egg slices and shallots are added on as well with a freshly opened can of tuna fortifying the salad dish. Chunks of anchovies in oil add to the flavor and the dish is often served for lunch or the main meal.
Variations Of The Nicoise Salad
There are many variations of the salad especially when it comes to adding the vegetables. However, it is difficult to pinpoint one particular recipe as authentic as the origin of the salad is obscure and remains disputed. The Americans have however substituted a few of the traditional ingredients according to taste. Some of the commonest variations of the Nicoise salad are:-
• Using mashed potatoes instead of the boiled variety.
• Fried egg topping instead of anchovies.
• Chicken or Sausages instead of the fish.
• Cilantro or mayonnaise instead of the vinaigrette dressing.
Nutritional Value Of Nicoise Salad
The salad is a good source of protein and vitamins. The cholesterol content is quite high with the fat percentage going up considerably on using mayonnaise as the dressing.
Nicoise Salad: Trivia
Nicoise salad traditionally consisted of an assortment of vegetables obtained from the backyard or kitchen garden of the house.