I am very happy to announce my sister's wedding date is only one month away! With the big event only a couple of weeks away, I have to step up my game and go on a diet! That means bringing back the salads. Yes, it may now officially be fall everywhere else in the world but it's still 89 degrees here in Los Angeles, so that gives me even more of an excuse to break out the greens. Wanting to try something new, I decided to make my very first tuna Nicoise salad. This particular salad never caught my eye with the olives, egg, and tomatoes, but with a little update, it quickly became my favorite. Seared ahi tuna Nicoise salad for weeks to come!
Seared Ahi Tuna Nicoise Salad
- 8 ounces fresh ahi tuna
- 1 lemon
- 1 lime
- 1 small orange
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
White wine vinaigrette
- 2 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- ½ tablespoon dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- ½ teaspoon white sugar
- 1 garlic minced
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- salt and pepper
- ½ cup fingerling potatoes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup green beans
- ½ cup cherry tomatoes
- ¼ cup kalamata olives
- 2 tablespoon capers
- 5 cups mesclun greens
- Peel lemon, lime, and orange. Reserve peels and save fruit for another time. Season tuna with salt and pepper on both sides. Combine with citrus peels, rosemary and olive oil in a Ziploc plastic bag. Marinate overnight.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Make the dressing. Mix together white wine vinegar, dijon mustard, lemon zest, balsamic vinegar, sugar, and garlic in a medium bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until thickened. Season with salt and pepper.
- Cut fingerling potatoes in half. Season the potatoes with salt and pepper and toss with 1 tablespoon oil. Spread the potatoes on a baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes or until tender. Remove from the oven and let cool.
- Place eggs in a medium pot and cover with water. Bring to a rapid boil over high heat. Turn off the heat and let the eggs sit in the hot water for 8 minutes. Drain and place eggs in an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Peel eggs and cut in half.
- Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add the green beans and blanch for 2-3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Remove from heat, drain and immediately shock in an ice bath until cool.
- Remove the tuna from the marinade, discarding the aromatics. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet or cast iron pan over high heat until hot. Sear the tuna for 2 minutes on each side for medium rare. Remove the tuna from the pan and let rest for 5 minutes. Slice into ½-inch slices.
- Toss together mesclun greens with the potatoes, egg, green beans, tomatoes, olives, and capers. Divide onto two plates. Top with seared ahi tuna and drizzle vinaigrette on top. Serve immediately.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
Tuna Nicoise salads are traditionally very lightly seasoned with a simple vinaigrette. This doesn't mean that it can't be flavorful as well!
Marinate the ahi tuna in herbs and lemon, orange, and lime zest to give it a nice citrus flavor. This marinade is similar to one that we used to use at the restaurant I worked at but instead of sous vide the tuna the next day, I decided to sear it.
When searing the tuna, make sure your pan is hot and when I mean hot, I mean HOT! You want to create a nice crust on the outside but still, keep a pink interior. I like my tuna more on the rare side so I only sear it for one minute on each side. If you like the tuna rare as well, make sure to buy sushi-grade fish.
Fingerling potatoes, kalamata olives, heirloom cherry tomatoes, green beans, and a boiled egg are tossed with greens and the white wine vinaigrette to create a beautifully balanced salad. If you want to make it extra special, swap out the egg for a quail egg! Easy on the waist and oh so tasty, what more can you ask for?
For more salad inspiration check out this loaded Greek chicken salad!