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Salad Nicoise with Seared Ahi Tuna

This is an updated version of the salad Nicoise made in the days of the bakery. Actually, it is so transformed that it barely resembles that distant memory. Let's not indulge ourselves with the past; this salad moves forward at quite a clip. Craving a salad Nicoise for about 2 weeks, more than one head of lettuce wilts in the refrigerator. Purchasing a minimal amount of ahi tuna, I vow that it will not waste away waiting for my attention.

Writing this blog frees me from the confines of what something must or should have to be called this or that. I take more liberties, read recipes as guidelines when I have time to play. Commercial cooking, and particularly baking, requires a degree of conformity. People want what they had before and we can't disappoint. Cooking or baking for the blog only requires a good photo and a heavy dose of self-indulgence. Who says that a salad Nicoise can't have avocado? Yeah, yeah....all those personalities judging on the Food Network.

The truth of the matter is that the only Nicoise olives I find don't have a hechsher. Kalamatas are a saltier substitute. I put my fresh green beans on to blanch and get distracted watching the news...for about 45 minutes. I find sugar snap peas in the fridge and start over again. I'm allergic to eggs and forget to boil one for the photo op. Oh well. Waiting in line at the supermarket, I see on a magazine cover that someone uses tarragon instead of parsley in their dressing. For me, a little tarragon goes a long way. Next time I'll add fresh parsley just for the added flecks of green and slight bitterness. Instead of boiling potatoes, I roast fingerlings with olive oil. Heirloom cherry tomatoes in red, yellow and orange make my head bobble. I'm lovin' it.

Finally, I cringe when I think of the canned albacore tuna we used in the bakery. The other night, a judge on "Chopped" savors a bite saying, "and the tuna is seared perfectly." Okay, whatever that means. I decide to heat some olive oil in a saute pan, add fresh ground black pepper and add the tuna. Working quickly, I sear it on all sides and remove it from the pan. That does not take long! What a fabulous melt-in-your-mouth texture.

I wonder if avocado is a redundant texture, a poser on the plate. I shrug, I don't care!

Kosher Status: Parve
Number of servings: 4 large salads
Main Ingredient(s): Tuna - Fresh and Canned, Lettuce - Boston Bibb
Preparation Time: 00:30
Cooking Time: 00:20
Skill Level: 2 (1 Easy - 5 Hard)
Estimated POINT value:


  • 1 large head Bibb lettuce, washed and torn
  • 1 pound fingerling or new potatoes
  • couple of handfuls of fresh green beans or snap peas, blanched
  • couple of handfuls of heirloom cherry tomatoes or other tomatoes
  • sprinkling of rinsed capers, about 2 tablespoons for 4 salads
  • sprinkling of Kalamata olives or other black olives
  • sprinkling of chopped fresh tarragon and/or parsley
  • 1/4 cup finely sliced red onions, sprinkled over each salad
  • 4 hard boiled eggs, cut in 1/2 - 1 egg per salad
  • 1 avocado, peeled and sliced and fanned over salad (optional)
  • 1 pound ahi tuna


  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2/3 cup light olive oil or canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper


Avocado is optional...add what you like!

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Salad Nicoise with Seared Ahi Tuna

About Leah

Hi! Thank you for stopping by to watch me, Leah, cook kosher. I've been the owner operator of my boutique catering firm in Seattle, Leah's Catering, for the past 14 years.

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