“You’re a complete tosser”: Scottish Man Makes Salade Nicoise Wrong

vegetable salad on white ceramic plate

“Are you doing that on purpose, Lewis?”

“Doing what on purpose?”

“THAT.”

I point at the salad spoons which Lewis is using upside down, handle-end buried deep in olives, boiled potatoes and lettuce. He’s practically mashing the tatties at this point.

“No idea what you’re talking about, pal,” he says, looking me dead in the eyes and continuing to move bits of salad about in an incredibly inefficient manner. My left eye twitches.

He is well aware he is being a complete tosser.

***

Despite Lewis being a wind-up merchant, this salad is a very nice choice for a quick(ish) and healthy tea. For those of you not in the know, Salade Nicoise is basically a fridge-dinner pimped out with bits of lettuce. It’s a mixture of tinned tuna, black olives, a few strips of anchovies, some jammy boiled eggs and some boiled potatoes, tossed with green stuff. The French have a knack for putting delicious things together (for example, wine and cheese, cheese and wine, cheese and cheese, wine and wine) and this hearty salad from Nice just so happens to be another example of such synergy.

To make 2.5 large portions, you’ll need:

  • 20 minutes
  • 4 smallish floury potatoes or 6-8 jersey royals
  • A handful of fresh or frozen green beans
  • A mug of cherry tomatoes
  • 6 anchovy fillets from a tin
  • 6 eggs
  • A tin of tuna
  • A romaine lettuce
  • As many black olives as you like (being reasonable here, chaps)
  • A lemon
  • Nice olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Chop your tatties into bite-sized chunks and throw them in some salty boiling water. Lewis and I are competitively lazy, so we never bother to peel them.

While they’re having fun in the saline jacuzzi, halve your cherry tomatoes and top and tail your green beans before halving them too.

Chop up the romaine lettuce and put it in a big serving bowl. Add the cherry tomatoes to the bowl. Tear over the anchovy fillets and plonk in the olives. Dump in the tin of tuna. Squeeze everything with a bit of lemon.

When your tatties have been boiling for around 10 minutes, add in your whole eggs to the water, along with the green beans. I’ve always found green beans take an absolute age to cook through in comparison to other green veg, so it works adding everything in at this stage. Continue to boil all this for a further 7-8 minutes.

When the potatoes are properly soft, drain everything into a big colander, and remove the eggs. Plunge the eggs into a cereal bowl of cold water so that you don’t destroy your fingers trying to peel them while hot. They should be cooked through but still a bit jammy in the middle when you cut them into halves. Reserve the halves for putting on top of the salad – or the yolks will fall out everywhere when you toss it.

The potatoes and green beans will have cooled down a little in the time it’s taken you to peel the eggs, so add them to the bowl with the lettuce now. Drizzle everything generously with olive oil, sprinkle some salt and black pepper over and toss everything with the wrong end of the salad tossers for maximum authenticity. Spoon out onto plates and top with the eggs.

Serve with side-eye and a spritz of lemon.

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