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Recipe of the Week: Pepper-Crusted Tuna Niçoise Salad

May 2, 2018
By LORETTA PAGANINI , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

My house in Italy is only two hours away from the French border and the port city of Nice. On a sunny Sunday morning with my husband, we take the beautiful drive and spend the morning exploring the antique market. By noon we are starving and, luckily for us, the market area is full of quaint little bistro restaurants. I always order this salad - a perfect combination of flavors that will fulfill every hungry palate. Serves eight. (Chef tip: Choose center cut tuna fillet without any red-black blood line.)


2 cloves garlic, minced

Article Photos

Loretta Paganini

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped

1 teaspoon sea salt

teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil


1 pound small red new potatoes, scrubbed and halved

8 large eggs

1/2 pound haricots vert, or French thin green beans, stems trimmed

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 pounds fresh center cut tuna fillet

1 teaspoon sea salt

teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup nioise olives

4 anchovy fillets, cut in half

8 caper berries, with stems

1 teaspoon fresh chives, chopped

Combine garlic, mustard, vinegar, parsley, tarragon, salt and pepper in a bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to emulsify. Set the vinaigrette aside in the refrigerator while preparing the salad so the flavors can marry.

Cook the potatoes and green beans until tender in separate salted boiling water pots. Remove from heat, let cool in the refrigerator and reserve.

Cook the eggs in boiling water for eight minutes until hard boil. Remove from the heat and cool in boiling water. Place in cold water and peel, slice and reserve.

Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil. Rub the tuna on all sides with pepper. Lay the tuna in the hot pan and sear for approximately five minutes on each side. Season the tuna with salt and remove from the pan. Transfer the tuna to a cutting board, cover with foil until cool and thinly slice.

Combine the potatoes, green beans, tomatoes, olives, anchovies, capers and chives in a large mixing bowl. Toss with prepared vinaigrette, season with salt and pepper.

Put the tossed vegetables down in the center of a serving platter and lay the seared tuna attractively across the top and the eggs around the rim. Drizzle with more vinaigrette and serve.



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