The first time I ever ate a Tuna Nicoise salad it was on a first date with my now husband. We’d met previously, drunkenly in the bar next door to the student union, but this was the first official, nerve wracking, best behaviour (at least until drink number 3) ‘date’. It was at Keith’s on Lark Lane in Liverpool (do comment if you knew this place, not sure if it’s still there), a very cool, bohemian wine bar / cafe type place. Obvs I acted like I’d eaten it before (as if, I’m from Chesterfield!). On paper, it’s nothing special. Just a posh tuna salad. But actually, the combination of all the elements – salty anchovies, slightly soft, creamy hard boiled eggs, still warm waxy new potatoes, sharp red onions, and good quality tuna is really quite something.
We actually ate this without the children for dinner this evening, they were at the grandparents’ as we had an afternoon at the farm wallpaper scraping and ripping out kitchens (found a lovely plate, see in pic). I think most kids would be OK with this salad; it’s got a lot of kid-friendly things in: tuna – tick; potatoes – tick; olives – tick; eggs – tick… so I reckon you could pull it off successfully on a weekday teatime (especially if you had some mayo or salad cream to hand).
Serves: 2 adults
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes
150g green beans
1 head of little gem lettuce (2 if they’re small)
Handful of green olives (it’s supposed to be black but I don’t like them!)
225g jar of albacore tuna in extra virgin olive oil
About 7 or 8 new potatoes
50g tin of anchovies in oil
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced into half moons
2 teaspoons of white wine vinegar (or lemon juice)
- Put your potatoes on to boil, they should take 20 or so minutes, depending on their size. When the water is boiling, add your eggs and boil for 7 minutes, then take out and let cool in a bowl of cold water. Peel when cool and set aside.
- Arrange your washed lettuce on a large serving plate.
- With 10 minutes to go on your potatoes, add your beans to the boiling water. After 10 minutes, drain water and season pots and beans with salt and pepper and a glug of extra virgin olive oil. Set aside to cool off a little.
- Drain the oil from the tuna, and whisk with the vinegar and salt and pepper. This is your dressing.
- Start compiling the salad. Quarter your eggs and arrange on top of the lettuce. Do the same with the tuna, olives, red onion, then the halved potatoes and green beens. Drizzle the dressing over and serve, ideally with a crusty baguette and a cold glass of white wine. (Feel free to wear a beret and smoke a fag afterwards with an insouciant air, if the mood takes you…)