Tuna Nicoise Salad with Parmigiano Croutons

Aug 25, 2020

Our take on the classic recipe from the South of France, with a nod to Italy. It requires some preparation, but you won’t regret a minute of it once you take the first bite. And most of it, the individual components, that is, can be done in advance. This is an entree for the summer solstice, for a dinner in the late lingering twilight, for family and friends. 

F O R  T H E  C R O U T O N S

4 slices of stale country bread

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

¼ cup coarsely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Pinch of dried hot pepper flakes

½ teaspoon salt

2 pounds tuna steaks, 1 inch thick

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil


Freshly ground black pepper

8 ounces creamer potatoes

8 ounces creamer potatoes

8 ounces string beans, trimmed

1 small red onion

2 medium tomatoes

6 to 8 radicchio leaves

¾ cup chopped basil leaves

1 garlic clove

4 anchovy fillets packed in oil

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

¼ cup drained capers

  1. Preheat the ocean to 325 degrees F. 
  2. Make the croutons: Cut the bread into 1/2 -inch thick cubes and put the cubes in a bowl. Add the olive oil, cheese, pepper flakes, and salt and toss to coat. Spread the croutons on a baking sheet and bake until crisp and golden, about 35 minutes. Let cool.
  3. Preheat the grill until hot. Or preheat a grill pan or large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat on the stovetop until it smokes. 
  4. Brush both sides of the tuna steaks generously with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange on the grill, grill pan, or skillet and cook, turning once, for two minutes per side for medium. Transfer to a platter and let stand while preparing the rest of the salad. 
  5. Slice the potatoes ¼ inch thick. Place them in salted water to cover and cook until tender, no more than 10 minutes. Drain in a colander, run under cold water to stop the cooking and reserve. 
  6. Cook the string beans in boiling salted water to cover until crisp-tender and bright green, about 4 minutes. Drain, run under cold water to stop the cooking, and reserve. 
  7. Peel, trim and slice the red onion into ¼-inch-thick rings. Soak in cold water to cover for 20 minutes. While the onion is soaking, dice the tomatoes. Tear the radicchio leaves coarsely. Chop the basil leaves.
  8. Peel, trim and mince the garlic. Mash the anchovy fillets. In a small bowl, combine the garlic and anchovies with olive oil and vinegar. Set aside until ready to dress the salad. 
  9. Slice the grilled tuna into 1 ½ x ½-inch pieces. Drain the red onion and pat it dry. 
  10. TO serve, combine in a large shallow bowl the radicchio, tomatoes, potatoes, string beans, red onion, basil, and capers. Add the tuna and dressing and toss to combine. Taste and adjust the seasonings, and garnish with the Parmigiano croutons. Best served within 1 hour of finishing. 

Serves 6

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