Classic Salade Nicoise

summer tomatoes

There were various responses on my Strawberry ice cream recipe, requesting a retraction of the moniker ice “cream” since it didn’t have cream in it. And a respected food writer pointed out that pumpkin was obligatory in Soupe au Pistou. I, too, know that folks will sometimes call something hot ‘chocolate’ even though it was made with cocoa powder instead of chocolate. And have been served fried onion rings that were actually broken circles, not neat, closed rounds of onions. And don’t get me started on thinly sliced fruit being called carpaccio.

So I have seen the error of my ways, and you’ll be happy to know that I slavishly followed the recipe for classic Salade Niçoise, as espoused by Jacques Médecin in his book Cuisine Niçoise. (Not this one.) Which everyone in Provence agrees gets the last word on cuisine from their region.

French olives Salade Niçoise

For example, once can not put grilled or seared tuna on the salad and call it a salade Niçoise. Canned tuna or anchovies are acceptable, but not both. And he cautions “”…never, never, I beg you, include boiled potato or any other boiled vegetable in your salade niçoise.”

Traditionally, nothing but the eggs should be cooked if it’s going in an authentic salade Niçoise. And in addition to the absence of potatoes (which might be okay if you don’t mind eating them raw?) or interdit steamed green beans, another item that is absent is vinegar; a good olive oil is used as the dressing with a few herbs mixed in. He does allow vinegar if you’re making a Pan Bagnat, a sandwich which is basically a Niçoise salad tucked inside a not-too-firm bun: olive oil and vinegar are sprinkled on to moisten the bun then rubbed with fresh garlic.

fava beans

Yesterday I hopped on a bike and headed to the marche d’Aligre but I couldn’t find fresh fava beans and although one can use small artichokes, I couldn’t find those either. So I stepped into Picard, the frozen food store, and bought fava beans there, which I’m going to go out on a limb and say that since I don’t think they’re cooked before they’re frozen, they might be okay. I’m just going to assume that’s allowable. (Plus Picard wasn’t around when he wrote his treatise on Provencal cooking in 1972.)

hard cooked eggs

But I did buy the unpeeled fava beans, instead of the ones already peeled and ready-to-go, which I shucked with my little hands. So I did my penance. Plus I sprung for beautiful organic garlic, whose price didn’t faze me that much, but it was probably The Most Expensive Dirt in France attached. I am certain that those peeled soybeans that became popular after 1972, now sold frozen in stores and served at sushi bars, would be a good substitute if you find yourself in a similar bind.

garlic hard boiled eggs

I dislike bell peppers, but usually one finds them in a Niçoise salad, so you can add them if you wish. Of course, it’s a salad so it’s open to lots of modifications, but salting the tomatoes is traditional. Draining them ensures the salad won’t be watery; ditto on scraping out the cucumber seeds and pulp. You can adapt the recipe to what’s available where you live, and the time of the year, but it is traditional not to have any cooked vegetables. Just a reminder.

spring onions spring onions

Because olive oil is so revered in Provence, it’s frequently drizzled over salads in place of a dressing, which just get a bit of salt and black pepper added at the last minute. You can do that, or make a vinaigrette if you’d like a livelier dressing, with a bit of a bite from mustard and vinegar.

It drives me nuts when people say they don’t like anchovies. (Like it probably drives people who like bell peppers nuts when I say I don’t like those.) Indeed, the ones in the tins are dreadful little devils. But when you get good ones packed in salt or oil, they’re tasty fellows and I keep a jar in the refrigerator to chop and add to pasta sauces, and like to have them handy since they’re good draped over little oiled toasts rubbed with garlic to serve as a quick appetizer.

Salade Niçoise

The French anchovies from Collioure are magnificent and although you can’t get them easily in the states, salted anchovies are available, as well as good oil-packed ones as well. (Zingerman’s and Corti Brothers are good sources in the states.) If you’re still not convinced, you can use a good brand of canned tuna, looking for one made with tuna fished in a sustainable manner, such as canned albacore.

According to the expert, both are never used at the same time on this salad, however he does concede that some cooks in Nice skirt the rules and will occasionally use both.

Classic Salade Niçoise
Print Recipe
Makes 2 salads
Unpitted olives are fine if making a salade composée (composed salad), but for ease of eating, you may want to pit them first if making a tossed salad such as this. If you use unpitted olives, especially tiny Niçoise olives, advise guests to watch out for pits. Although Monsieur Médecin warns away from using any sort of French dressing, you can use a vinaigrette instead. In place of the lettuce, you can use arugula, or mesclun, a mixed of greens, which I’ve seen served in Nice in many restaurants.
2 large, ripe tomatoes
1 clove garlic, peeled and halved
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded, and sliced
2 spring onions, or 1 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 cup (90g) peeled fava beans
1/3 cup (55g) small black olives, preferably Niçoise olives, pitted or unpitted
1/2 head of lettuce, torn or shredded
3 hard-cooked eggs (see below)
6 tablespoons (90ml) extra-virgin olive oil or French vinaigrette
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or flat-leaf parsley
freshly ground black pepper
3-4 anchovy filets, cut into thin strips lengthwise, or a 6 ounce (180g) tin of tuna
1. Rub the clove of garlic all over the insides of a wooden salad bowl.
2. Cut the tomatoes into wedges and put them in a colander. Sprinkle them with salt, and let them drain for a few minutes while you finish the salad.
3. Add the cucumber, onions, fava beans, olives, and lettuce to the bowl.
4. Peel and cut the eggs into wedges.
5. Mix the olive oil with the herbs and a bit of salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes to the bowl and toss most of the dressing with the salad, reserving a bit to drizzle over the eggs. (If using tuna, toss that with the salad as well.) Season with additional salt, if necessary.
6. Place the eggs on top of the salad and drape the anchovy strips over the eggs. Pour the remaining dressing over the eggs.

To make hard-cooked eggs: Begin with room temperature large eggs. Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and gently lower the eggs in. Let cook for 9 minutes. Remove the eggs from the water and plunk them into a bowl of ice water, cracking the shells a bit after a few minutes, which aids in peeling.

empty salad bowl

Related Recipes and Links

How to Pick, Clean and Prepare Fava Beans (The Kitchn)

Nice and the Côte d’Azur

Coasting the Coast


The Best Socca in Nice

Cucumber-Feta Salad


French Tomato Tart

8 Tips for Choosing Olive Oil

Niçoise Salad (Simply Recipes)


Confit of Tomatoes

French Tart Dough

Salade Niçoise (Nicerendezvous, in French)

Creamy Feta-Red Wine Vinegar Dressing

How to Find Foods and Other Items Mentioned on the Site

French Purists Rise Up in Defense of Niçoise Salad (Times of Malta)

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  • July 24, 2010 5:18am

    “But I did buy the unpeeled fava beans, instead of the ones already peeled and ready-to-go, which I shucked with my little hands. So I did my penance.”

    Well good on you, brother. I’m impressed. I totally would have gone for the peeled ones, but I see what you mean about keeping everything in a Niçoise Salad Karmic Balance.

    Your salad turned out beautifully. :)

    I love Salade Niçoise because I know it is the one thing I can get in a restaurant that is pretty much guaranteed allergen-free for me. Plus I can easily pick off anything that does not agree with me (like the peppers — I can only handle so many of those, too). I’m also totally with you on the anchovies. I always just thought I was *supposed* to dislike them as it seemed to be commonly accepted that no one does, until I actually had some on a Niçoise Salad, and I found out I love them. Maybe it is just the stores I shop at here in Paris, but I can’t seem to find them (yeah, I’m kind of a short bus kid when it comes to this stuff). Any tips on where to buy the ones packed in salt and oil? Is this something that the dreaded Monoprix carries in, say, the tuna aisle?

    Thank you so much for posting this.

  • July 24, 2010 5:22am

    Great to have finally met you at the book signing last week, David! Here is the link for the sushi restaurant I used to work at in Boston:
    Hope you make it up there when you go to NYC.

    And if you need a dining companion, don’t be a stranger :)

  • July 24, 2010 7:02am

    That looks delicious, especially from the middle of a chilly, damp winter. Recently I needed anchovies for a recipe and found the only jar in the pantry had the delectable little darlings wrapped around capers – very scrummy!

  • July 24, 2010 7:16am

    Your photos are beautiful David. It brings me back to me and my hubby’s honeymoon in Paris and Provence last year. Wish I was there!

  • charlotte
    July 24, 2010 8:11am

    Thank you for this recipe. I don’t think I know anyone who doesn’t like a good, fresh salad niçoise. Steamed haricots verts are a great addition, though I am not sure of the authenticity in relation to the salad…

  • July 24, 2010 8:15am

    Why do we have to stop having fun with our food just because someone else ‘says so’? Phooey. Ice cream without cream is simply the same as calling all facial tissues ‘Kleenex’ – everyone knows what you mean! So, there :)

    At any rate, I think this looks fabulous (even though I am tres partial to new potatoes in mine) and I am an anchovy lover. They add such depth to things and as I found I am an umami seeker, they fill that bill quite nicely.

  • Anita
    July 24, 2010 8:28am

    Hi David, great post! Do you know where can I find soybeans in Paris?? I have looked in my local Picard for the shelled version but no luck and I never see them whole at the market. Any ideas?

  • Marlene
    July 24, 2010 10:02am

    yeah! yeah! yeah! I’ve heard about the authentic version from the former (late) Mayor of Nice for decades. Normalement, I have great respect for authenticity, but…

    Back when I was working in Paris some years ago, (this happened on Bastille Day —guess a revolution in Salade Nicoise was brewing that day…) Working on drawings in my hotel room I completely forget to eat…it was late afternoon when I finally called for room service and ordered Salade Nicoise. When it arrived I was surprised to discovered warm potatoes and green beans, both warm and dressed in vinaigrette on an otherwise cold salad.

    I knew this was sacrilegious, but I was hungry!

    Fabulous…turned out I loved the contrast of the warm with cold flavors.

    Since then, this is the way I always prepare it and serve it!

    P.S. I love anchovies, bell peppers, AND licorice. I also make lavish use of cumin (even though it smells like the worst underarm problem in the world) for my chili!
    Tant pis, we all have our idiosyncrasies, don’t we?

  • July 24, 2010 10:08am

    I hope to have the real thing very soon. In the meantime, I’m hittin’ PRINT and making this at home. I love love love this salad.

  • July 24, 2010 10:44am

    Wow, after reading this post, I making something as simple as a salad a dreadful task! I suppose making any old salad is quick and easy, but the restrictions surrounding a salad Niçoise seem very stringent. On second though, salads are supposed to be fresh and non-cooked, so the restrictions seem to follow the notions of a salad, leaving only the anchovy/tuna rule in play.

    I would suspect that a great olive oil is nescessary for the salad Niçoise to be successful since there aren’t many other striking flavors in the salad, such as a cheese.

  • James in Seattle
    July 24, 2010 10:47am

    So David, if one simply insists on including boiled potato (and I do) in what I had formerly called Salad Niçoise — what do I call it? Not to mention the blanched haricot vert…

  • July 24, 2010 11:03am

    So glad to hear potatoes aren’t required; I never add them anyway. Like Karin, I often order Salade Niçoise in restaurants because it’s an easy way to avoid the wheat, excess starches, and sugary dressings. Green peppers don’t agree with me, either (or my husband, so those are left out, too). I might use cukes, but I might also use small lacto-fermented pickles I usually have in my fridge, as they add a nice salty flavor and healthy probiotic bacteria.

    At home, I keep a stock of Wild Planet’s sustainably line-caught canned skip jack tuna (a smaller tuna variety with lower mercury levels than albacore and packed in its own juices, not water or oil – I get it by the case from

    When the summer CSA produce is abundant and needs using up and/or I need something easy, cool, and fast to feed the family or an unexpected guest, Salade Niçoise is just the ticket.

  • July 24, 2010 11:36am

    To add to the cream – ice cream debate.

    How about the Indian ice creams that don’t use cream but reduce the milk till it thickens and use that as base for ice creams. When I was a kid that is how I made chocolate ice cream. Kulfis are another example. Love to hear your thoughts on that.

  • Michele
    July 24, 2010 11:49am

    David: not sure whether you’ve seen this, or if you were contacted before they filmed it!

  • July 24, 2010 12:14pm

    James: I think it’s like the Chicken Caesar Salad debate. A Caesar Salad, by definition, doesn’t have chicken on it, so it’s a new hybrid. Maybe we should start calling them Caesar Salads with Chicken?

    Earl: It’s actually quite simple, especially if there’s nothing to cook. It’s just that often people request and want precise instructions on exact quantities (I’ve had people ask what “a medium banana weighs”, and an ex-editor of mine thinks that I shouldn’t specify things like “a half bunch of chives on the site, but to be more precise), but you can certainly just toss any of the ingredients together in whatever proportion, drizzle them with olive oil, salt & pepper, and eat away!

    Michele: No, but I think it’s neat they liked my site enough to use it in their demo : )

    Anita: I would imagine places like Tang Frères or some of the other Asian superstores in that area might have them.

  • lee
    July 24, 2010 12:21pm

    Thank you for this post answering my question! Every time you mentioned this salad, I became more curious.

    I was fortunate enough never to have any anchovies until I was an adult and a restaurant put some quite nice ones on a salad. My children love them too. I think they will love this salad. I read other recipes and the potatoes and green beans put me off, so it is pleasant to find they are not required.

  • sylvia
    July 24, 2010 12:30pm

    Nice recipe.I can only agree with you for the anchovies from Collioure, the best, because I am from there, on my mother’s side.
    It is a salad, so no potatoes, or green beans, or rice and tuna as served sometimes in some places.
    Thanks for the tip on fava beans we can find chez Picard.
    I can bring you anchovies when I come back in september.

  • July 24, 2010 12:34pm

    The empty bowl says it all!

  • Carol H.
    July 24, 2010 1:07pm

    Years ago I made my first Salade Niçoise from Julia Child’s book From Julia’s Kitchen, and I was smitten. It wasn’t until much later, when I was researching Salade Niçoise for a class I was planning on composed salads, that I found out that so many of my favs–potatoes, green beans, anchovies + tuna–were controversial. Yours looks great, the photos are fabulous, but it is Julia’s that I long for when the first beans come to my local farmers’ market. With garlicky new potatoes in the center, topped with the best canned tuna I can find, surrounded with clusters of dressed green beans, quartered jewel-like tomatoes, boiled eggs, anchovies topped with Niçoise olives, it is a kalidescope of colors and flavors.

  • July 24, 2010 1:36pm

    I often war internally between ABSOLUTE AUTHENTICITY!!! and the variations on a theme. More often than not, the variations rule, as I realize at the last minute that I’m missing an ingredient…

    I’m very impressed by the frozen fava beans – I would have never guessed that those beauties weren’t fresh.

    I have a question for you about the anchovies: how long will a jar last (provided that they aren’t all eaten) in the fridge, once opened? I adore anchovies, but my husband isn’t a big fan, so I don’t use them as often as I’d like. I can’t bring myself to spring for the expensive jars unless I know I won’t end up throwing them out.

    The alternative, I suppose, would be to just cook with them and tell my husband to suck it up or make his own dinner, which I do from time to time anyway :)

  • Mrs Redboots
    July 24, 2010 2:07pm

    Erm, why do you take the skins off of broad beans? They’re supposed to be eaten skin-on!!!! Only exception is if you have grown your own and they’ve got a bit elderly and tough. Otherwise, just microwave them out of the packet and eat them tel quel. You’re missing the best bit.

  • Sue
    July 24, 2010 2:56pm

    David- this looks wonderful!!! I’ve not yet made one of your non dessert recipes. I look forward to it. I am slowly working my way through the perfect scoop- making your chocolate mint ice cream with the homemade peppermint patties right now. I love the book…my only question is….any designs on making a peanut butter sauce recipe??? That was the only thing I thought would have made the tome absolutely perfect. Seems like the perfect blog post to me!!

  • July 24, 2010 5:33pm

    hi there
    when one starts bringing in the word “authenticity” in cooking , things get seriously shifty. Medecin’s book is a good book. It is also famous because HE was famous and controversial. The book then got translated into English and praised by many top food writers. So it became even more famous, at least in English speaking countries Too famous? Must he be considered the ultimate judge in nicoise cooking? I could say, for instance, that there is another classic book about Nicoise food, J.B.Reboul’s La Cuisiniere Provencale, that, doesn’t even mention the salad.
    I mean: cookery books are very personal, they try to fix into words something that is very fluid and ever changing. Even recipes by someone as obsessive and precise as Paula Wolfert must be regarded, ultimately, as “her versions” of local food. are they authentic?

    I give you another example. I am Italian and when I read some recipes from Elizabeth David’s Italian Food (1953), which is justly considered a classic, I am sometimes amazed: some of her recipes are totally unfamiliar to me and to very many Italians I spoke to (I am 43 and I have also asked people who are much older than me). yet she presents those recipes as “typical”…. is she right? is she wrong? she is right and wrong at the same time. she presents HER personal selection of dishes she must have tasted all those yrs back, that doesn’t mean those dishes are typical. do I make sense?
    I have always disliked the Taliban-like tone of the Medicin’s book. there are too many “absolute yes and absolute no(s)”.

    Plus one thing has always puzzled me: he mentions tomatoes, cucumbers, broad beans or artichokes (depending on the season), green peppers… well: Nice is not far from where I am writing to you (Milano) and very close to the Italian-Ligurian border. Here, when it is tomato & cucumber season (summer), broad beans and artichokes have already long disappeared.- they are a spring thing. you can still find the occasional artichoke, but no broad bean (at least here). Did I get something wrong? Plus, those green peppers.. apart from some Turkish recipes, green peppers are, to my knowledge, something very, very Un-Mediterranean… you will never find, for instance, an Italian recipe calling for green peppers (having said that.. never say never in life, of course)… again, did I get the wrong end of the stick?

    .. tonite I have just cooked bohemienne (aubergine stew with tomatoes) from Olney’s “Lulu”, which is different from the version in Jane Grigson, which is different from the ancient version in JB Reboul… which one is authentic?
    authenticity is a tricky business.
    Plus> I don’t want to be preaching, but I would like everyone to remember that tuna has become an endangered species and unless one buys tuna (either fresh or canned) he/she is absolutely sure where he comes from, it is better to eat it as least as possible (especially bluefin tuna, the one used for good sushi). Please gather info from the net about the abysmal situation of tuna’ stocks and check where your fish comes from (as David says)
    ciao, from Milano

    Hi Stefano: Thanks for your thoughts & I agree. I was using the recipe (and M. Médecin) as an example of something considered the “classic” although various versions of “classics” exist globally. (Try asking Americans if cornbread should be sweetened or unsweetened, if you want an earful.) Personally, I think it’s okay to veer from the original as long as it’s done in the same spirit. I responded a bit more in the comment below to the various other comments, but adding some potatoes or green beans to a Salade Niçoise feels more right to me than the piles of boiled rice they add to the Salade Niçoise in most Paris cafés. But I can’t explain why. And yes, people should be aware of the tuna they’re buying and search out sustainable tinned tuna. Ciao! -dl

  • July 24, 2010 6:37pm

    My father and I were just discussing anchovies last night and how bothersome it is that people dont like them….to say they dont like its generally they just hadnt tried them! I love this salad, classic and perfect!

  • July 24, 2010 7:34pm

    This recipe looks great, but I’m mostly commenting to say how exciting it is to see Corti Brothers listed as a resource on your site! I live just a few minutes away from their store so I may have to swing by there soon to pick up some anchovies for this salad!

  • July 24, 2010 7:34pm

    In a previous life I was an anchovy, and let me just say, humans, the feeling is mutual.

  • Jean Marie
    July 24, 2010 8:14pm

    Mmmm. Your salad looks so good but I have to agree with some of the others here on possible additions like new potatoes and green beans. It is so blasted hot here in D.C. that we had an assorted salad plate for dinner. Tomorrow is more of the same so perhaps this will be our Sunday meal. And I have anchovies in the pantry!

  • July 24, 2010 8:45pm

    I think perhaps there needs to be a new name given to the “non” authentic” version of Salade Nicoise, because when people go on about how potatoes and bean, tuna or otherwise, are not authentic it discredits the salad itself. And frankly its fantastic with all of those things. My first experience with salade Nicoise was indeed Julia’s and I yearn for it each summer. While authentic is lovely, I think a big summer meal salad like the in authentic has its place and should be given some respect.

  • Bonnie
    July 24, 2010 9:28pm

    I can’t think of salade nicoise without remembering the film A Good Year. An American tourist at a cafe in the south of France orders a “salad nee-swa-zay with low-cal Russian dressing, and sprinkle some of those bacon bits on top would you..” The outraged “waiter” played by Russell Crowe rips the menu from her hands and gives her directions to the nearest McDonalds!
    Thank you for the recipe…

  • July 25, 2010 12:30am

    I’m actually mind-boggled that people get that nit-picky with your recipes. Gosh-diddly-osh! If it tastes good, what’s the point in fussing about language overmuch? Language and monikors and recipes are always changing anyway. I say keep doing what you’re doing and keep calling it whatever you want. A rose by any other name… ;)

  • torontocook
    July 25, 2010 1:06am

    I’ll gladly agree with M. Médécin on all his other provençal rules – but a salade niçoise without a few new potatoes (preferably little fingerlings) and fresh-picked green beans, both boiled just so . . . lacks generosity.

  • July 25, 2010 4:18am

    Great post, and I see you linked to the “How to Pick, Clean and Prepare Fava Beans” post I wrote for The Kitchn – thanks! :)

  • July 25, 2010 4:30am

    Well, the whole question of what belongs in certain foods (like this salad) and what doesn’t means that food evolves. So we might think that ice cream has to have cream, but if you use ‘soy cream’ does that mean it’s okay to call it ice cream, but if you use ‘soy milk’ you can’t?

    Sometimes we get stuck thinking about foods in a certain way. Sure, I make Salade Niçoise myself with grilled or boiled potatoes and green beans (shhh…don’t tell) and it’s fine and no one complains. Yet invariably in Parisian cafés, if you order a salade Niçoise, it’ll most likely be presented with a big pile of boiled rice, which I just think is wrong. I can’t really explain why I think it’s okay to add cooked vegetables but not rice, but so be it.

    Jacques Médecin says in the introduction to his book that he saw Niçoise cooking either dying out, or people changing it, and was writing the recipes down to preserve them. So it could be construed as a historical document. Just like some of the recipes in old versions of Joy of Cooking became outdated, and were subjected to updates & revisions as things like eating squirrel and candy making went out of fashion. (Good thing one of those things came back…but not the other!)

    Foods change. The chiles in Thai food are a fairly recent addition, and people used to add cornmeal to chocolate to extend it, which I don’t think is a custom that needed to continue. I add baking powder to pound cake because it lightens the crumb a bit.

    But on the other hand, I don’t want raisins in my cole slaw (or bagels!), frozen corn doesn’t belong on pizza, I think, and the steak tartare aller-retour, which gets quickly seared on both sides but still served raw in the center, is probably delicious…although I usually just order the classic.

    But would consider branching out and giving it a try because it sounds kinda good
    : )

  • Patricia
    July 25, 2010 4:37am

    Truly a lovely salad, regardless of the lack of potato and green beans. A bowl of that salad on my kitchen table would quickly be an empty bowl

  • July 25, 2010 10:16am

    I have not tried frozen Fava’s yet but will do so- the Fava is still the mystery bean to most- You mean you take them out of the big shell and still have to do more? Whenever I am picking Fava’s or Cranberry beans for that matter at the store someone will always ask what I am going to do with those- Now that is Social Networking at its best-

    Oh for years I was in the “don’t like anchovy” category but would not have a Ceasar salad if it was NOT included – plus I loved my pasta and olive oil with anchovy – then it hit me – I like anchovies, I just do not like crappy anchovies-LOL so now I spend the money for good Sicilian anchovies or some nice ones packed in a very light vinegar-

  • July 25, 2010 11:13am

    have you ever tasted Italian canned tuna, especially the one sold by weight out of large cans in grocery stores? It tastes so much better than what is usually available in American supermarkets. Is it the same in France? (Here in Austria, stores carry Italian tuna, packaged in glass containers, pricey, but oh so good!)

  • July 25, 2010 9:48pm

    Reading your blog is simply fascinating, David. I even read all the comments! You lead a life to be envied, monsieur. I love salade niçoise and don’t even care about purists. Your blog always brings back memories of my stays in France, particularly in Provence, where I cooked with a chef for 6 months. I visited Collioure and fell in love with it, anchovies and all. Your photos are amazing!
    Bon appétit!

  • Rich Nixon
    July 25, 2010 11:17pm

    Thanks for the tomato tart recipe. I made it today with the quick crust and it turned out great!

  • July 26, 2010 1:22am

    This salad looks great. Reminds me of traditional Russain salads; healthy, simple ingredients combined to make a very satisfying dish. I will have to add the ingredients to my “pick in mom’s garden” list. Thanks for posting!

  • Leslie
    July 26, 2010 6:35am

    Dear David…. it isn’t bell peppers that are used in a Nicoise — or other salad. They are green, pointed and thin “poivron salade” — available in the markets or in the super markets. The flesh is thinner, and has a milder taste and they don’t overpower the other ingredients…. try them…….

  • Mrs Redboots
    July 26, 2010 7:09am

    @ Kahuna, no you absolutely don’t have to do more, I don’t know why Americans appear to think the grey inner skins are inedible! Just buy them frozen, microwave them for a few minutes, and enjoy. Or, better still, fresh from the garden, remove from pods (this will make your fingers dirty, but so what?), and again, microwave or steam for a few moments.

    @ David – re frozen sweetcorn on pizza – this is standard (and delicious) in the UK. But if you think about it, the US version of pizza is completely different from the Italian version so it’s only natural that the UK, France and other countries develop their own takes. In fact, in the UK, what used to be done with left-over bread dough was to soak it with lard and raisins to make a lardy cake! Which is also lovely…. interesting what different cultures “did” with left-over dough, and then how they adapted other peoples’ ideas.

  • July 26, 2010 10:51am

    Leslie: I do like those peppers much better, but I’m just not a fan of peppers (except chile peppers), so I omit them.

    Mrs Redboots: It’s probably not just the Americans, but the French must not like the fava bean skins either since Picard sells them peeled or unpeeled. I find the larger fava beans can have tough skins, but it is a job to peel them.

    I’ve had authentic pizza in France and the US (as well as bad versions in both) so it is possible. Two favorite places in Paris are Al Taglio and La Briciola.

  • Collette
    July 26, 2010 2:36pm

    Thank you David for the wonderful lesson on my favorite French salad. And I’m glad you allow for substitutions, as I’ve never in my life been able to get an egg in it’s natural state (cooked or raw) down, and have always left them off when ordering or preparing this salad. But, if it is interdit to use any form of cooked or canned Tuna in the classic preparation, the Fava Beans and Anchovies look to make a delicious substitute for protein.

    By the way, the CIA has posted this version of a Nicoise sandwich. Not sure if it’s a classic Pan Bagnat or not, but (sans eggs) looks like a wonderful summer lunch.

  • Helen in CA
    July 26, 2010 4:12pm

    What to use if I can’t get favas? No branch of Picard’s in my part of the Bay area, after all.

  • July 26, 2010 4:21pm

    Hi Helen: As mentioned, frozen soybeans are a substitute. Since you live in the Bay Area, you can find them in Trader Joe’s stores, and perhaps other places like Whole Foods as well. The beans aren’t essential, but really do add to the flavor and texture.

  • Pam
    July 27, 2010 12:01am


    I have seen many version of salad nicoise but loved all of variety but I can see you are trying to be politically correct for your many readers which is understanding.

    For me, trying out this with heirloom green and yellow tomatoes will be just super, I can envision the final product, thanks for the inspiration.

  • July 27, 2010 9:54am


    Are American’s able to order the anchovies from Desclaux? I visted the shop when I was in Collioure recently and didnt bring enough home with me. Or do you have additional sources for good anchovies in the US?

    Thank you,


  • July 27, 2010 5:15pm

    I guess it all depends how deviant you want to be. I’ve taught and eaten Medecin’s recipe for years and love it but if you want to add green beans or potatoes, that’s fine. Just don’t add rice and call it Salade Nicoise!
    Even in Nice bastard versions abound. The best and most authentic I have found locally is at La Cave de la Tour, a lovely little wine bar in Old Nice.
    Hope you washed the salad down with a bottle of rose wine!

  • Justine
    July 27, 2010 6:27pm

    Dear David,
    As you love anchovies and cuisine niçoise (so do I!), why don’t you give us the recipe of the pissaladière? I’d be curious to see your version

    • August 30, 2016 11:49am
      David Lebovitz

      It’s in my book, My Paris Kitchen.

  • Tamar
    August 1, 2010 6:45am

    Thank you for the recipe.

    There is authenticity and there is, I guess, a later developed tradition/innovation, that is sometimes just as good and is already “the taste of home”.

    I have done your “authentic” salad, but the taste of Nicoise for me is the taste of the salad my sister used to make for Passover Seder, which had (of course!) potatoes (the boiled variety, we’re not much of “raw eating vegans” in my family…). But then again, we’re German, so we tend to ruin everything French ;-)

  • August 6, 2010 4:15pm

    I quadruple the Salade Nicoise recipe from a Silver Palate cookbook and add boston bibb lettuce with an extremely, garlicky dressing. It’s better than any Salade Nicoise I’ve ever eaten in Provence. A “true” Salade Nicoise; probably not, but delicious.

  • August 30, 2010 6:22am

    This salad is so good! I just realized today (after I made it a week ago) that I completely forgot to add the olives. Guess I’ll just have to do it again.

  • January 3, 2011 2:14am

    What a lovely salad! I love how strictly you explained the rules. Unfortunately, I cooked lots of vegetables last time I made it and used dressing and tofu instead of the tuna/anchovies. Guess I’ll have to give it another go!