We were craving something light and flavorful on Friday night and somehow landed on Niçoise Salad. Only problem: We had no potatoes; Phoebe didn’t want eggs; I didn’t want olives; Abby begged for crispy chickpeas instead of tuna; I said YOU CAN’T HAVE NIÇOISE WITHOUT TUNA; Andy said YOU CAN’T HAVE NIÇOISE WITHOUT OLIVES. We did it anyway! The whole spread might remind DALS diehards of my old Deconstructed Dinners, where we had to separate a salad or a soup in order to accommodate a picky eater at the table…

All the controversial items (yes, including decidedly non-traditional sautéed mushrooms) were served individually so each diner was able to make his or her own custom Nicoise-ish Salad. The only constant: A mustardy-shalloty vinaigrette.

A week later, I made this one. Though I won’t go so far as to call it authentic (still no olives!) it’s closer. Here is your decidedly no-recipe recipe.


1. In a large bowl combine the following:

Hard-boiled eggs, quartered as shown (I’d say 1 1/2 per diner)
Potatoes (preferably red or fingerling, halved and boiled for 10-12 minutes until tender; no need to peel)
Romano beans (lightly boiled in salt water about 4 minutes, they should be tender but not mushy)
Carrots (pickled, optional)
Radishes (pickled, optional)
1 can olive-oil packed tuna (such as Cento-brand)
finely chopped shallots
Lettuce (gem, Bibb, Romaine)
Niçoise olives (I am not an olive person, but obviously this is not a Niçoise without them!)

2. Toss with a mustardy-shallot vinaigrette:

2 teaspoons Dijon
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon minced shallots
pinch sugar
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil

Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl until emulsified.

(This recipe initially appeared as part of the 2020 Pantry, Project, Purpose series)

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