"The beauty of living in East Hampton," Sylvie Chantecaille says, "is having both amazing garden and sea harvests." So although salade niçoise typically includes canned tuna, Sylvie uses the incredibly fresh tuna caught off Long Island's Montauk Point.
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1 pound small red potatoes
1/2 pound thin green beans
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons minced parsley
2 tablespoons minced tarragon
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons pure olive oil
2 pounds tuna steaks, cut 1/2 inch thick
1 teaspoon fennel pollen (see Note) or ground fennel seeds
10 ounces mesclun
16 anchovy fillets
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup Niçoise olives
1/4 cup chopped chives
2 tablespoons drained capers
8 hard-cooked large eggs, quartered
Nasturtium flowers, whole and shredded (optional)
How to Make It
In a large saucepan, cover the potatoes with 1 1/2 inches of water and add a large pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and simmer the potatoes over moderately high heat for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, put the green beans in a strainer, lower it into the simmering water in the saucepan and cook until just tender, about 4 minutes; transfer the beans to a plate to cool. Check the potatoes; they should be tender a few minutes after the beans are done. Drain and halve the potatoes, then let them cool.
In a small bowl, whisk the extra-virgin olive oil with the vinegar, parsley, tarragon, garlic, mustard and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
In a medium skillet, heat the pure olive oil. Season the tuna steaks with salt and pepper and dust with the fennel pollen. Cook the tuna over high heat until browned on the outside and rare within, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and refrigerate until slightly chilled.
In a large bowl, toss the mesclun with the potatoes, green beans, anchovies, cherry tomatoes, olives, chives and capers. Add 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette and toss to coat.
Mound the salad on plates. Slice the tuna 1/3 inch thick and set on top of the salads. Surround with the eggs. Scatter the nasturtiums around the plates and serve, passing the remaining vinaigrette at the table to dress the tuna.
The recipe can be prepared through Step 3 up to 1 day in advance. Refrigerate the vinaigrette, eggs and vegetables separately.
Fennel pollen is available at specialty food shops and from Sugar Ranch; 800-821-5989 or fennelpollen.com.
A bright, aromatic dry rosé from the south of France has enough acidity to match the tart tomato and olive flavors here.
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