Tuna Salad Nicoise
Tuna Salad Nicoise is a summer treat that’s simple, delicious and sure to impress dinner guests. Fresh tuna is pricey, but when you fill the plate with those great tasting fresh vegetables and herbs, you need not pile the plate high with fish.
- fresh tuna (4 ounces per person is good)
- green beans (fix a lot, they make great leftovers!)
- cherry tomatoes
- potatoes (reds, small whites or combo)
- capers (1-2 teaspoons per serving of fish)
- pitted nicoise olives, 5-6 olives per serving
- fresh thyme and rosemary
- olive oil
- fresh garlic clove
- Cut the tuna into 1 to 2 bite pieces
- Trim ends from green beans, drop into boiling water, blanche until tender and remove with slotted spoon or spider, dropping into cold water to refresh. When beans are cool, drain well and set aside.
- Rinse tomatoes and potatoes
- Cut potatoes into wedges, place on lightly oiled baking sheet and cook at 450 degrees until potatoes are cooked through and browned – 20-25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and chopped fresh rosemary (optional).
- Mince together fresh thyme, capers and olives.
- Heat a heavy skillet or wok on medium to high heat (hot, but not smoking).
- When hot and you’re ready to saute, add 1-2 tablespoons olive oil to pan and add green beans and a few garlic cloves for taste. Toss and cook until beans are hot and starting to brown a bit on the edges. Add the tomatoes and continue to cook until beans are tender and tomatoes are starting to cook (they may start to split open a bit). Season with salt and pepper, remove from pan. Discard garlic cloves.
- Allow the pan to get hot again, add another 1-2 tablespoons olive oil.
- Add tuna pieces and cook, turning with metal spatula, until fish is cooked to desired doneness – do not crowd the pan. If you have a large quantity of fish, do several batches. This results in fish which is browner and does not steam. If the pan is hot enough and not overcrowded, it should not take more than a few minutes for fish that is seared on the outside and pink in the middle. Add herb/olive/caper mix and toss, remove from pan.
- Arrange on plates, serve with lemon wedges if desired.
This is a great summer meal. Not only is it tasty, pretty and nutritious, but the components can be prepared in advance – it’s just as good at room temperature as it is hot off the stove (if not better!) And of course if you don’t have fresh tuna available (or don’t want to splurge), use a nice canned albacore tuna. I prefer it packed in water, drained well, and mixed with some capers, olives, finely chopped red onion, fresh thyme, salt, pepper and lemon juice – yum.
Note: Tuna has many nutritional benefits, but remember that almost all fish can contain high levels of mercury so it is not recommended for pregnant women and could pose a health concern for young children. As with many other treats, keep this in mind in determining portion sizes and how often you want to serve fresh tuna.