When it originated in Nice, salade niçoise was just a mix of tomatoes, anchovies and olive oil—simple food for simple people. But in the decades since, it has been embraced around the world evolving to include haricot verts, lettuce, radishes, oil-packed tuna, and hard-boiled eggs. As a composed dish, the beauty of the display is as appealing as the fresh flavors. Ours includes marinated sun-dried tomatoes which we like for the deep flavor, plus eggs that are more softly cooked for more unctuous golden yolks.
• 3 heads Boston lettuce, cored, washed and leaves separated and patted dry
• 1/2 pound whole haricots verts (thin French green beans)
• 4 large eggs
• 6 small red tomatoes
• 1 bunch green onions
• ⅓ cup fresh basil leaves
• . cup to ⅔ cup pitted olive mix
• . cup marinated sun-dried tomatoes
• 1, 8-oz. jar large chunk oil-packed tuna, preferably from Spain, oil discarded
• 6 radishes, washed and trimmed
• 8 to 10 cherry tomatoes
• 1 1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided (1 tsp for potatoes; remainder to drizzle over salad)
• Juice from 1/2 lemon
• Salt and fresh cracked pepper
• Leaves from 1 sprig fresh thyme
Spread one head of the lettuce leaves on large serving platter. Break up the remaining two heads and fill the center of the platter. Tuck basil leaves throughout. Place green beans in a microwaveable dish with 3 Tbsp water; cover with plastic wrap and steam in microwave for 3 1/2 minutes until bright green and crisp tender. Drain cooking water and rinse beans with ice cold water. Place potatoes in a pot of water and boil, simmering until just tender. Remove from heat, drain, drizzle potatoes with tsp of olive oil. Set aside. Fill pot of water a second time and heat to boiling. Using a spoon, carefully add the four eggs and boil for 6 minutes.
Remove from heat, drain cooking water, and rinse with ice cold water. Peel eggs. Set aside. Discard outer leaves and trim green onions to three-inch pieces, including a bit of the white bottom. (Save remainder of onions for another use.) Arrange mounds of radish, both kinds of tomato, trimmed onions, tuna, and green beans over lettuce on platter. Slice potatoes in half (or quarters, if desired) and add to platter. Carefully halve eggs and place yolk-side up on platter. Sprinkle mixed olives over all. Drizzle with olive oil and fresh lemon juice. Sprinkle with thyme leaves, salt and several grinds of fresh-cracked black pepper. Serve.