Orange Coast Magazine

Taste of O.C. | Priscilla Mayfield on food


Salade Nicoise Season

The best composed salad, straight from the south of France to SoCal

In the composed-salad category, salade Niçoise is a favorite. It’s originally an unprepossessing assembly of olive-oil-packed tuna, sliced tomatoes, cooked potatoes, green beans, with wedges of hard-boiled eggs. In California restaurants, it’s likely served with rare-in-the-middle seared fresh tuna instead of canned. Not traditional, but very good.

Now that salmon’s in season, I’ve been cooking it a lot, and love to use it in this salad. Saturday at the Irvine Farmers Market—absolutely the most packed I’ve ever seen it, which is really saying something—I serendipitously scooped up haricots verts, great-looking tomatoes, and small yellow potatoes, not yet knowing they’d all come together in this salad after I added a Costco sockeye fillet. Local Costcos have had troll-caught king salmon, too, this year, and one big side we grilled was so good—but I do like the fine-textured sockeye best.

Anchovies are said to be optional as a garnish for salade Niçoise, but essential is more how I see them—though of course you may keep your own counsel on this. Dress with extra-virgin olive oil and red-wine vinegar, or take my advice and use a bold vinaigrette with mustard and shallots—perfect with the flavor of oily fish like tuna or salmon, not to mention those small-but-mighty anchovies. Author and food blogger (and former Chez Panisse pastry chef) David Lebovitz has a great tutorial for this simple salad sauce you can read by clicking here. Break a baguette, pour a glass of any one of the rosés I wrote about earlier, and be reminded that there’s more than one Riviera in the world.

Leave a comment:

· Subscribe to comments
Be the first to comment here.

OC Guides


OC Guides
  • Best of 2014: Nutty Brûlée

    No one can resist breaking into the sugary crust of crème brûlée, and this one packs an extra surprise with its abundance of silky-smooth chocolate-hazelnut custard below—thanks to the addition of Nutella. This sinful dessert is incredibly rich and best shared with a friend. $8
    704 E. Balboa Blvd., Newport Beach, 949‑673‑7173,

    Read More
  • Best of 2014: Honey Bee Chicken

    You’ll fall in lust with the chicken pieces at BBQ Chicken at Diamond Jamboree in Irvine. Fried in olive oil for a crunchy exterior, they’re tossed in a sweet honey sauce making them all the more delicious. $11 to $21

    Read More
  • Best of 2014: New York Pizza

    Seal Beach’s A Slice of New York makes pizza the way it’s supposed to be—with a thin, chewy crust that oozes cheese and can be enjoyed the New Yawker way: folded in half.
    142 Main St., 562-493-4430,

    Read More
  • Best of 2014: Bird-Watching

    When the throngs of beachgoers are too much, spend a day with the birds. Here, with the wind whipping off the ocean and herons, egrets, ducks, and more soaring above, you'll get a chance to be the amateur ornithologist you never knew you wanted to be. Free
    3842 Warner Ave., Huntington Beach, 714-846-1114,

    Read More
  • Best of 2014: Green Cleaners

    Sold from her website and a refitted retro travel trailer, these earth-safe cleaning products are Marilyn Nowak of Coto de Caza's propriety formulas. Products for laundry, surfaces such as glass and wood - even an ecological drain cleaner - all have dispenser bottles and bulk refills $8 to $48
    Resuming in September at Great Park Farmer's Market, Sand Canyon Avenue and Marine Way, Irvine, 949-292-1648,

    Read More
wine blog

stuff we love

Charitable Events Calendar