So much more than a mere salad! A colourful triumph of seasonal ingredients and store-cupboard staples, the salad Nicoise is magnifique.


  • 12 oz (350 g) red ripe tomatoes, quartered

  • 4 oz (110g) watercress

  • ½ small cucumber, cut into smallish chunks

  • 1 lb (450 g) new potatoes, cooked and sliced

  • 4 oz (110 g) French beans, cooked

  • 4 shallots, peeled and finely chopped

  • 2 x 200 g tins tuna fish in oil, well drained

  • 2 large hard-boiled eggs, peeled and quartered

  • 2 oz (50 g) anchovy fillets

  • 2 oz (50 g) black kalamata olives

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

  • For the vinaigrette dressing

  • 1 level teaspoon Maldon sea salt

  • 1 clove garlic, peeled

  • 1 rounded teaspoon mustard powder

  • 1 tablespoon wine or balsamic vinegar

  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives

  • Freshly milled black pepper


  • For the vinaigrette:

  • 1.

    With a pestle and mortar, crush the flakes of sea salt to a powder, then add the peeled clove of garlic and pound them together, to a smooth paste.

  • 2.

    Next add the mustard powder, work that in, then add the vinegar and some freshly milled black pepper and mix thoroughly until the salt dissolves.

  • 3.

    Finally, add the olive oil. Now stir the chives into the vinaigrette. Just before you dress the salad, pour everything into a screw-top jar and shake vigorously so it's thoroughly blended.

  • The salad:

  • 1.

    In a large salad bowl, arrange the tomatoes, watercress, cucumber, potatoes, beans and chopped shallots in layers, sprinkling a little of the dressing in as you go.

  • 2.

    Next arrange chunks of tuna and egg quarters on top.

  • 3.

    Then arrange the anchovies in a criss-cross pattern, followed by a scattering of olives, the chopped parsley and a final sprinkling of dressing.

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