Niçoise Salad with Asparagus


16 to 24 asparagus spears
½ tsp. tarragon
½ tsp. thyme
½ tsp. parsley
Ice water in a bowl
Leaf lettuce of your choice
Tomatoes of your choice (Roma, cherry, grape or homegrown)
8 small new potatoes with the skin on, steamed and chilled
4 hard-cooked eggs, cut in quarters
1 12-oz. can albacore tuna, drained; or a fresh tuna filet, poached or grilled then chilled*
6 to 8 plain artichoke hearts, canned or frozen, drained and quartered
20 to 24 Mediterranean-style olives
4 to 6 Tbsp. capers, drained

For the vinaigrette dressing
¼ cup vinegar (red wine, apple cider or balsamic)
1 tsp. fresh shallot, finely chopped**

½ tsp. dried tarragon or 1 tsp. fresh tarragon

1 tsp. dried parsley or 2 tsp. fresh parsley

1 tsp. anchovy paste

¾ cup pomace olive oil***

Salt, pepper and brown sugar to taste

*If you don’t like tuna, substitute chilled shrimp or a fresh salmon filet or steaks, poached and chilled. Canned or smoked salmon is too strong for this salad
**A good substitution would be ½ teaspoon of finely chopped onion or garlic.
*** Canola oil or sunflower oil may be used


Steaming the asparagus
• Add the tarragon, thyme and parsley to 1 quart water. Bring to a boil.
• Steam the asparagus on a rack until fork tender, approximately 5 minutes.
• Plunge the asparagus in the ice water to stop the cooking and drain.

Assembling the salad
• Arrange the lettuce on individual salad plates or on a large platter with tongs for serving.
• Compose the salad by placing the asparagus, tomatoes, potatoes, egg wedges, tuna, artichoke hearts and olives in an artful design. Sprinkle the tuna with capers.
• Serve with vinaigrette dressing on the side.

For the vinaigrette dressing
• Whisk together the vinegar, shallot, tarragon, parsley and anchovy paste.

• Slowly whisk the oil into the vinegar mixture to create an emulsion.

• Taste it and adjust the flavor with salt, pepper and brown sugar.

Tags : Eggs , Asparagus , Tuna , Olives