Best recipe: Salade nicoise

Salade nicoise

I wanted to have one salad recipe in my 100 recipes to cook in your lifetime challenge. Salade Niçoise is one of the more popular recipes so I choose it. The salad is named after the city Nice in France.

Salade Niçoise is a composed of tomatoes, green beans, tuna, hard-boiled eggs, black olives, anchovies and dressed with a vinaigrette. It is served with or without a bed of lettuce. The tuna may be cooked or canned.

If you consult your Australia’s Sustainable Seafood Guide, you’ll want to choose fish which are ranked “Green – Better choice”, such as Australian Bonito, troll or line caught Albacore Tuna and Skipjake Tuna. Bigeye Tuna, Southern Bluefin Tuna, Yellowfin tuna, and many imported canned tuna are on the “Red – no” rank.

Avoid adding cooked potatoes, rice, or sweetcorn to your nicoise – they don’t really fit into the mixture of fresh vegetables that makes up the original dish.
Provence Cookery School by Guy Gedda and Marie-Pierre Moine

Salade Niçoise recipe

bunch of lettuce leaves
2 ripe tomatoes or 8 cherry tomatoes
2 eggs, hard-boiled
1/2 red capsicum
100g cooked green beans
8 black olives
200g canned tuna in springwater, drained
1 tsp lemon juice
4 anchovy fillets packet in oil (optional)

3 Tbsps extra virgin olive oil
3 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
1/2 Tbsp red or white wine vinegar
salt and pepper

  1. Make the dressing by putting all of the ingredients in a glass jar and shake to combine. 
  2. Tear the lettuce leaves into small bite-size pieces. Rinse, drain and dry in a salad spinner.
  3. Cut the tomatoes into halves, then again into 2 or 3 wedges.
  4. Peel the eggs and cut them into quarters length-waves.
  5. Cut the capsicum into fine strips.
  6. Drain the anchovy fillets well on kitchen paper, then cut in half length-ways (optional).
  7. Select your serving dish and arrange the salad ingredients over a bed of lettuce leaves
  8. Spoon the dressing over the salad and gently toss the ingredients.
  9. Season with salt and pepper.

Serves 2.

Cooked for the 100 recipes to cook in your lifetime challenge.

How to buy sustainable seafood in Australia

A nice video showing a sustainable way to catch fish in Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia
According to the “Shop Ethical” guide:
Demand for seafood has doubled over the past 30 years; three-quarters of the world’s oceans are now fished right up to their limit. Often we’re eating rare or endangered ocean species without realising it. This includes shark, commonly sold as ‘flake’ in fish and chip shops; and species such as orange roughy, bluefin tuna, swordfish, and toothfish. ‘Bycatch’ – fish caught unintentionally – often sees up to 15 tonnes of discarded fish per tonne of targeted seafood.

When buying sustainable seafood you want to ask a few questions:

  1. Buy local. Ask where it’s from and if it’s imported ask for certified sustainable seafood.
  2. Consult a seafood guide. Use the the Australia’s Sustainable Seafood Guide or app to choose a fish that has been sustainably caught and managed. For the best choice in tuna consult the Greenpeace canned tuna guide.
  3. Look for certified products from the Marine Stewardship Council (see below).


Good swaps

If you consult your Australia’s Sustainable Seafood Guide, you’ll want to choose fish which are ranked “Green – Better choice”, such as Australian Bonito, Bream, Luderick, mullet, tailor and whiting.

Here are some of the more popular fish with their green – better choices:

  • Calamari – choose Squid, calamari, cuttlefish and octopus 
  • Crab – Blue Swimmer (Sand) crab, Mud crab
  • Mussels – Blue Mussels, also better choice is Green Mussel imported from New Zealand
  • Salmon – Imported canned salmon, predominantly Sockeye (Red) and Pink Salmon
  • Tuna – Australian Bonito, Better choice: troll or poll and line caught Albacore Tuna and Skipjack Tuna

Seafood guides

For choosing a sustainable fish consult one of the following resources:

Dangerous levels of mercury in tuna

This is a great video that explains the process of biomagnification (he calls it biological magnification), and why if you eat fish choose the smaller varieties.

Fish that contain higher levels of mercury include:

  • barramundi
  • gemfish
  • ling
  • marlin
  • orange roughy (deep sea perch)
  • ray
  • shark (flake)
  • southern bluefin tuna and tuna
  • swordfish

Tonno in umido – Tuna stew with polenta (Swiss)

swiss plate

Cooked for the Swiss entry of the Euro Cup and Plate challenge.

1 x 400g can Italian peeled tomatoes, broken up with your fingers
2 x 100g can tuna in oil, drained
100g freshly shelled peas
25g unsalted organic butter
2 tablespoons virgin olive oil
1 large red onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium carrots, chopped
bunch Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 fresh bay leaf
50g tomato paste
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

  1. Heat the butter and oil in a large saucepan and saute the onion until softened, then add the garlic, being careful not to let it brown. Add the carrots and herbs and cook for a further few minutes.
  2. Add the tomato paste and cover over a medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and turn the heat down to low. Put a lid on the pan and cook for 30 minutes, stirring from time to time.
  3. Add the tuna to the pan, breaking it into bite-sized pieces with the spoon, and add the peas. Cook until the peas are tender – about 10 minutes).
  4. Taste the stew and season with salt and pepper. Discard the bay leaf and serve over a bed of cheesy (mozzarella and Parmesan) polenta or mashed potato.

Serves 2.

Adapted from Winter in the Alps, a Swiss cookbook by Manuela Darling-Gansser.