Healthier Eating in the New Year

Jan 3, 2017

With the New Year comes resolutions!

Credit Justin Fox Burks

Most of us give up a bad habit or vow to eat a more healthy diet.  But for majority of us, those resolutions are abandoned by the end of January. 

I have found that the key to sticking to a healthy diet is to find dishes that are full of flavor.  Dishes that don’t taste like health food but in reality are!

Tuna Nicoise is a classic French dish that finds its origins in the Southern France town of Nice. It’s one of my favorite main course salads. What I love about it is the fact that it is absolutely delicious. 

Tuna Niçoise is essentially a French composed salad, much like our American Cobb salad, but with tuna, green beans, and potatoes, instead of chicken, bacon, and avocado.

Nicoise salads are typically served on a bed of lettuce and include cooked green beans and potatoes … and of course Nicoise olives!

Typically in France, the Niçoise salads are all made with canned tuna. Depending on the establishment here in the United States, I’ve had them either with canned or with freshly grilled tuna.  Both make for a delicious salad.

If using canned tuna, look for a flavorful European tuna packed in olive oil. 

If using fresh tuna, be sure to buy sushi-grade tuna since it is best served seared rare.

Like its American Cobb salad cousin, the Salad Nicoise takes some time to prepare, given all of the ingredients. This is one dish where setting up your mise en place (all ingredients chopped and ready to go) will help the salad come together smoothly.

This is Jennifer Chandler with The Weekly Dish. Happy New Year!

Tuna Nicoise

For the Lemon-Caper Vinaigrette:

  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the Tuna Nicoise Salad:

  • Vegetable oil, for the grates
  • 4 1-inch thick fresh tuna steaks (6 ounces each)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large head butter lettuce, leaves separated and torn into 1-inch pieces
  • 8 small red new potatoes, boiled until crisp-tender, cooled, and cut in quarters
  • 1/4 pound haricots verts (thin green beans), trimmed, boiled until tender, and cooled
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and quartered
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup pitted Nicoise or Kalamata olives
  • 1/4 thinly sliced red onion (about 1/2 small onion)

To make the Lemon-Caper Vinaigrette: In a small bowl whisk together the lemon juice and mustard. Slowly add the oil in a stream, whisking to emulsify. Stir in the capers. Season with pepper to taste. Reserve.

To make the Tuna Nicoise Salad: Preheat a clean grill to medium-high with the lid closed for 8 to 10 minutes. Lightly brush the grates with oil.

Brush both sides of the tuna with olive oil. Generously season with salt and pepper.

Place the tuna on the grill. Cook, turning once, until just seared on the outside and still rare on the inside, about 3 minutes per side. Place the tuna on a cutting board and thinly slice.

On a plate arrange the salad blend, potatoes, haricots verts, eggs, tomatoes, olives, and red onion. Drizzle with the vinaigrette to taste. Top with the tuna slices. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Cooking Tips: Haricots Verts are tender skinny French green beans. Many grocery

stores now carry them in either the fresh or the frozen vegetable section. If you can't find them, just use traditional fresh green beans.

Tuna steaks are traditionally served rare. If you prefer a more done piece of fish, just cook until your desired temperature.

Recipe reprinted with permission from Simply Grilling by Jennifer Chandler.