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Salad Nicoise was created in the French city of Nice and is typically a combination potatoes, green beans, tomatoes, boiled eggs, anchovies or tuna and fresh herbs. The local albacore season just hit full swing and you can get this affordable fish at Newman's Seafood, right here in Eugene. For this recipe, the tuna is slowly poached in olive oil, which preserves it, and has the added bonus of providing a rich and well seasoned oil for the salad dressing. This classic salad makes the perfect light dinner for a hot summer night and is a great way to celebrate the arrival of heirloom tomatoes in the shop. Feel free to add radishes, pickled onions, fresh crispy lettuces, cucumbers, avocados or whatever other summer vegetables you love the most.
Albacore Tuna Nicoise
Serves 2-4 people
½ lb albacore tuna per person
1 pt. Olive oil
2 bay leaves
1 sprig rosemary
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 dried hot chili
1 lb new potatoes
½ pint pitted Nicoise olives (or castelvetrano if you can’t find these)
½ lb green beans or Romano beans, stems removed, cut into 1” chunks
1 egg per person
1 large heirloom tomato, cut into bite size pieces
1 bunch parsley, roughly chopped
1 medium sized red onion cut into 1/4" wide slices
⅓ cup lemon juice
1 clove of garlic, grated or pressed through a garlic press
3 Tbsp finely chopped shallot
1 Tbsp finely chopped thyme
2 Tbsp dijon mustard
¾ cup oil from tuna confit
Salt and pepper
Cut the albacore into 1 ½“ medallions, salt it well on all sides. Place the medallions in a small saucepan with the crushed garlic, bay leaves, rosemary, olive oil and dried chili. The fish should be fully submerged in oil. Place it over low heat until the oil is warm, it should not be hot or simmering, just warm to the touch. Continue cooking for 8-12 minutes. Check the fish with a paring knife, it should be slightly raw in the center. Remove the pot from the heat and let the fish rest in the oil until you are ready to make your salad.
Clean your potatoes well and place them in a saucepot, cover them in water and salt it well. Bring the water up to a boil and add your eggs, set a time for 8 minutes and then reduce it to a simmer. When the timer goes off, remove the eggs and shock them in ice water. Continue to cook the potatoes until they are fork tender then add in your green beans, cook for another two minutes then strain, rinsing with a bit of cold water. Cut the potatoes into bite sized pieces.
To finish, make your dressing by combining all of the dressing ingredients and mixing well, season to taste. Toss the potatoes and green beans with half of the dressing.
To plate, get a large platter and make mounds of each ingredient, including the tuna. Drizzle the remaining dressing over the entire salad and sprinkle fresh parsley on top. Enjoy! Nicoise salad is also wonderful as leftovers.
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