Niçoise platter with seared tuna is a version of the so beloved Niçoise salad transformed into a marvelous main course. It is served at room temperature and for that reason it is great for entertaining, all the ingredients can be prepped in advance and the platter assembled within minutes of serving dinner. Searing the tuna may seem tricky if you haven’t done it before but if you follow the simple steps below it would be hard to get it wrong. I made the Niçoise platter for my last dinner party and it was greatly appreciated by our friends.
Ingredients for the salad:
2 pounds sushi grade tuna
8 medium boiling potatoes
8 medium tomatoes
8 hard boiled eggs
8 young spring onions
500g French beans
small bunch of arugula
100g pitted black olives
100g pitted green olives
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 Tbs canola oil
5-6 anchovies (optional)
For the vinaigrette:
2 Tbs parsley chopped
1 Tbs fresh tarragon chopped
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbs lemon juice
1 Tbs white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp lemon zest
6 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
Prep the vegetables: Hard boil the eggs, cut in halves and set aside.
Boil the potatoes until a knife goes through easily, pour out the water, return the potatoes to the pot, cover with a kitchen towel and let them steam until cool enough to handle. Cut the potatoes in half inch thick rounds and set aside.
Blanch the French beans in a large pot of salted boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes without covering the pot. Transfer them to a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process and preserve their color. Place the beans in a bowl and set aside.
Cut each tomato in 4 wedges and set aside.
Wash the arugula and spring onions and set aside.
Make the vinaigrette: Place all ingredients in a small jar and shake to emulsify.
Sear the tuna: Sprinkle a few generous pinches of sea salt and pepper over the tuna fillet and brush it with canola oil. Gently place the fish in hot non stick pan and sear for 2 min on each side. If the fillet you are using is from a larger fish and your piece is from the middle, simply observing the line of discoloration on the sides will guide you in the cooking process. If on the other hand you have a smaller fillet which gets thin on the extremities you will need to cut in two though the middle in order to see how far you have cooked the fish an avoid overcooking. Transfer the fish to a cutting board and let in come to room temperature. When ready to start assembling the platter cut the tuna in 1 inch thick pieces using a very sharp knife.
Assemble the Niçoise platter: Arrange the potatoes, beans, eggs, tomatoes, olives spring onions and arugula and spoon some of the vinaigrette over them. Pour the rest of the vinaigrette in a smaller gravy boat to later serve with the Niçoise platter. Carefully place the tuna in the middle of the platter over the veggies sprinkle a few anchovies, if using and serve.
Wine Suggestions: Bandol rosé, Coteaux-d’Aix-en-Provence rosé, red or rosé Collioure.