The classic French dish Niçoise Salad gets an upgrade with seared fresh tuna and quail eggs. If you’ve only ever eaten this salad with canned tuna, we urge you to give this version a try. And, if you thought Niçoise Salad wasn’t fancy enough to serve for a date or for lunch guests, we think this recipe will change your mind.
Tips for Making Niçoise Salad
Should Niçoise salad be served warm or cold?
There is debate about whether Niçoise Salad should be served warm, cold, or at room temperature. Our preference is somewhere between warm and room temperature. Cook the potatoes and beans before preparing the other ingredients to allow them time to cool slightly. They will absorb too much dressing if they are served hot. They will also start to cook the tuna, and will make the onions go soggy.
How to cook perfect quail eggs.
Quail eggs taste much like chicken eggs, so they won’t alter the flavour of the dish, but they will give it a fancy vibe! They can be tricky little things to cook and peel, but we’ve perfected the technique so you’ll get it right every time.
To cook quail eggs perfectly, first prepare a bowl of iced water and sit it on the bench right next to the cooktop. Bring a small pot of salted water to the boil. Use a slotted spoon to gently lower the eggs into the boiling water as you set a timer for two minutes and twenty seconds exactly. Gently and continuously stir the eggs as they cook. This centres the yolks. After two minutes and twenty seconds, remove eggs from the boiling water with a slotted spoon and place them immediately in the iced water.
Leave the eggs in the iced water for at least fifteen minutes. The cold causes the egg to shrink away from the shell inside, making them much easier to peel. When you’re ready to peel the eggs, crack the pointy end on a hard surface. Start peeling from the pointy tip down in a spiral motion. Make sure there are no bits of shell stuck to the eggs before you add them to the salad.
For the salad
- 2 medium waxy potatoes washed & cut into 3cm cubes
- 100g green beans trimmed
- 6 quail eggs
- Olive oil
- 150g fresh tuna seasoned
- ½ small red onion thinly sliced
- 12 kalamata olives
- 2 TBS capers
For the dressing
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
- ½ tsp honey
- Salt & pepper
- 1 clove garlic minced
To make the salad
- Place potatoes into cold salted water and bring to the boil. When potatoes begin to soften (5 to 8 minutes) add the beans. Continue to cook for another 5 to 8 minutes, or until potatoes are just soft and beans are tender crisp. Drain and set aside to cool slightly.
- Fill a bowl with iced water. Bring a small pot of salted water to the boil. Gently lower quail eggs into the water and set a timer for two minutes and twenty seconds exactly. Gently and continuously stir the eggs as they cook, to centre the yolks. When the timer ends, remove eggs from the boiling water with a slotted spoon and place them immediately in the iced water. Leave in the iced water for at least fifteen minutes. This makes the eggs easier to peel. When you're ready to peel the eggs, crack the pointy end. Start peeling from the pointy tip down in a spiral motion un til all shell and membrane is removed.
- Heat a splash of olive oil in a frying pan/skillet over high heat. Sear tuna for about one minute each side, until just coloured. Remove from heat and set aside to rest.
- Meanwhile, assemble the other salad ingredients on a plate. Slice tuna into 3mm slices and arrange on top of salad.
To make the dressing
- Shake all ingredients together thoroughly in a jar. Check seasoning and adjust if needed. Drizzle dressing over salad and serve immediately.