Salade niçoise is the kind of French bistro concoction that looks casually composed but follows a specific regimen: olives, green beans, oil-packed tuna, anchovies, tomatoes, hard-cooked eggs and potatoes, served with a spiky vinaigrette.
This recipe, from Nadia Damaso, a 20-year-old Swiss food blogger (EatBetterNotLess.com), omits the olives and anchovies and then perks things up with a blender mango dressing that I’d put on just about anything. Minimal stove-top time for the beans, carrot and very small potatoes makes this a colorful and healthful dish that’s fit for young cooks and busy folks to try on a weeknight.
Compose the components to suit your inner artiste, or serve it in a glorious, messy, sunny heap.
Salade niçoise with mango dressing
Serves 2 to 3
Adapted from “Eat Better, Not Less: 100 Healthy and Satisfying Recipes,” by Nadia Damaso (Hardie Grant).
For the salad:
One 5-ounce can good-quality canned or jarred tuna, preferably packed in oil
2 handfuls fresh green beans (4 to 6 ounces)
8 small potatoes
1 medium carrot
2 or 3 large eggs
8 cherry tomatoes
Parsley, chives or other fresh leafy herbs, for serving
Balsamic glaze, for serving (optional)
For the dressing:
1/2 ripe mango (from one 12-ounce mango)
1 1/2 tablespoons white wine or champagne vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
Freshly ground black pepper
For the salad: Fill a small saucepan with a few inches of water and place over medium heat. Bring a separate medium saucepan with water to a boil over high heat. Drain the tuna.
Meanwhile, trim the green bean ends, then cut some of the beans lengthwise in half. Rinse the potatoes and cut into halves. Trim and peel the carrot; cut into batons (thick matchsticks). Fill a mixing bowl with ice cubes and water.
Add a generous pinch of salt to the pot of boiling water, then add the beans and carrot. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until crisp-tender, then use a slotted spoon to transfer them to the ice-water bath; drain and pat-dry as soon as they have cooled. Return the water to a boil, then add the potatoes; cook for about 8 minutes, or just until tender. Drain and place in a mixing bowl.
Place the eggs (1 per serving) in a small steamer basket and seat it over the small saucepan (so the eggs are not touching the water). Cover and steam for 12 minutes, then transfer the eggs to the same ice-water bath to cool.
Meanwhile, make the dressing: Peel the mango and coarsely chop the flesh, placing the latter in a blender along with vinegar, oil, paprika and onion powder. Puree until smooth. Taste and add salt and pepper, as needed. The yield is about 1/2 cup.
Pour all but 1/4 cup of it over the potatoes, then add the drained green beans, carrot batons and tuna. Cut the tomatoes into halves and add to the bowl. Toss gently to coat, then taste and season lightly with salt and/or pepper, as needed.
When ready to serve, peel the eggs and cut into quarters. Divide the leafy green herbs among individual plates. Divide the dressed vegetable mixture between them, then finish with the egg quarters, a good sprinkling of salt, a drizzle of the balsamic glaze, if desired, and drizzles of the remaining dressing. Serve with warm naan.
Per serving (based on 3): 360 calories, 23 g protein, 30 g carbohydrates, 18 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 200 mg cholesterol, 420 mg sodium, 5 g dietary fiber, 11 g sugar