A twist on the classic nicoise salad
The classic nicoise salad is here served as individual bundles that are perfect for a summer lunch or starter. It is important that each element of the nicoise is chosen carefully for maximum flavour—especially the eggs which are used not just hard-boiled in the salad but also for the fabulously rich and smooth tarragon mayonnaise that goes with them. This recipe was inspired by my article about the importance of quality and provenance when buying eggs.
8 leaves of little gem lettuce or treviso radicchio
½ tsp red wine vinegar
8 basil leaves
100g pitted black olives
8 anchovy fillets in oil
For the mayonnaise:
2 egg yolks, at room temp
1 tbsp lemon juice or white wine vinegar
½ tsp mustard powder
200ml sunflower oil
100ml olive oil
1 tbsp chopped tarragon leaves
Hard-boil the 4 eggs and set aside to cool while you make the mayonnaise:
Gently hand-whisk the egg yolks with salt and pepper. Stir in the lemon juice or vinegar and the mustard powder. Then hand-whisk in—drop by drop to start with—the oils. As the mayonnaise gets thicker, the oils can be added at more of a drizzle pace. Continue until you have a lovely thick, shiny mayonnaise. Check the seasoning and stir through the tarragon.
Peel and quarter the hard-boiled eggs. Wash and dry the lettuce or radicchio leaves—choose ones that have a good ‘boat’ shape. Sprinkle a little red wine vinegar, salt and pepper inside each and line with a basil leaf. Chop the olives and sit the pieces inside the lettuce / radicchio. Sit the quarter of egg inside too and then lay the whole anchovy fillet over the top of the egg. Serve two nicoise bundles per person, with a dollop of mayonnaise alongside.
Recipe: Angela Clutton
Image: John Holdship