Salade Niçoise

It’s the small things in life, you know, that color our world.

This morning as I was driving through the countryside to get to the supermarket, the fields were bathed in fog and the only thing that pierced the grey was the white Spring blossoms on the trees.

I stumbled upon a sale of Magnolia trees. My husband loves Magnolia trees because it reminds him of spending his summers at his grandparent’s house. They used to have him go collect the leaves and put them in the fire to give off their crackling sweet perfume.

So I got two trees to plant on either side of the peach tree to form a small hedge. Sir has been in New York for a week and is coming back tonight so he will be surprised.

Unless he reads my blog first.

And then the lights at the supermarket went off everywhere; it was strange to be lost in such a big place bathed in darkness. A chorus of “Joyeux Anniversaire” spontaneously erupted, which made me grin.

So the birds singing in the rising sun on the way home matched my mood to perfection. It’s sunny today and time for salade niçoise.

If you’ve ever been to France or have lived in a cosmopolitan city, you probably not only know what salade niçoise is, but also how to make it. It’s not hard. But sometimes a food post is just as much about reminding us of forgotten recipes as it is to learn something new.  And I was inspired by this cookbook that my friend Alberte lent me:

Notice what’s on the cover?  Well we’re about to make it!

So you wash some lettuce and boil an egg for starters.

This is the most basic of lettuce in France – I think it’s called Boston lettuce in English. I was smitten with it when I first lived here because it almost looks like iceberg lettuce, but has thick velvety leaves. Make sure you rip the lettuce leaves small enough because it’s considered bad manners to cut salad in France.

Slice a few thin onion rings

and a bright red tomato (the selection was poor so I chose cherry tomatoes)

and then slice a few peppers thinly – red or green.

Cook some green beans until tender and then rinse them with cold water when done so that they retain their bright greenness.

Prepare the salad dressing by adding a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and a pinch of pepper

and then adding 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil.

Criss-cross some anchovies over the top of the salad

(I was so disappointed – my anchovies were more like sardines – not salty at all)

and place slices of the hard-boiled egg plus some black olives with their pits.

Spoon the desired amount of dressing over the salad

and go eat your delicious salade niçoise in the bright sunlight under the shade of the Magnolia tree.

Well … er … one day.  That’ll be the plan.

Salade Niçoise
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This is a salty salad that can be a meal in and of itself, or served in smaller quantity as an appetizer (called entrée in French).
Recipe type: Entrée
Serves: 1
  • 1-2 cups lettuce
  • 1 hard-boiled egg
  • handful of tender cooked green beans
  • a couple of thin slices of onion
  • a couple of thin slices of red or green pepper
  • 4 anchovies
  • a handful of black olives with pits
  • 1 ripe tomato
  • 1 T balsamic vinegar
  • 3 T vegetable oil
  • a pinch of pepper
  1. Place an egg in boiling water and cook for 8 minutes.
  2. Peel and slice the egg.
  3. Wash the lettuce and rip apart into small pieces.
  4. Slice a couple of thin rings of onion and pepper.
  5. Slice the tomato.
  6. Place the onion, pepper, tomato on the lettuce leaves.
  7. Place 4 anchovies on the top of the salad.
  8. Place the egg slices and the black olives on top of those.
  9. Combine the pepper, vinegar and oil to make the dressing.
  10. Spoon over the top.


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I am the daughter of a symphony musician who was raised in upstate New York, and I simply breathe all things classical, be it music or 19th century literature (English and Russian). I married Sir Renaissance in New York City, and before I knew it, he had swept me up and brought me back home to his own country. So here we are. Three children, a rather ordinary life in a rather exceptional place. I am now ‘A Lady in France.’

Posted in Food, La Cuisine (The Kitchen), Le Jardin (The Garden), Soups, Sides & Salads, Tout le Reste (Everything else)
17 comments on “Salade Niçoise
  1. Midlife Singlemum says:

    Do you think the salad will keep until the tree has reached meaturity? – In the fridge maybe?

  2. Ameena says:

    The best salad nicoise I had was at the Paris train station. Crazy, right?

    This looks delicious too!

  3. SO easy! But yes, I am not an anchovy fan!

  4. Andi says:

    I am not a big salad eater, but I love a good nicoise. Maybe it is just a Swiss thing, I ate a lot of these for lunch while working there, but shouldn’t there be potato too?

    • ladyjennie says:

      I don’t think a traditional salade niçoise should contain a potato. I’ve seen it more often without than with. I think the potato just belongs in the salade compagnarde.

  5. All but the anchovies…

    (Don’t tell my Swedish grandfather that I can’t abide pickled herring, either.)

  6. the advisor says:

    I’ve never tried salad with anchovies before so this should be yum as they do have a nice salty taste. Plus I love hard boiled eggs in salad. BTW nice surprise for Sir.

  7. Mom says:

    A brand new recipe for Salad Nicoise! I’m tired of the recipe in my American cook book.

  8. Would it be weird for me to say that that is the best looking head of lettuce I’ve seen thus far?

  9. Love this salad. Love the salty fish. Now I’m starving. Would it be bad to make this at 10pm?

  10. Galit Breen says:

    This looks absolutely divine and 1000 times YES to the memories surrounded and inspired by food!

    Love this, sweet friend!

  11. Shell says:

    That looks so good!

  12. Yummy! I love boston lettuce. It’s the BEST.

I'm Jennie. Welcome to A Lady in France! I write books, and also this blog on faith, French culture and recipes ... ( To continue reading, please click here. )

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