Tuna Nicoise is a classic from the Cote D’Azur region of France. Undoubtedly, it was Julia Child who inspired this dish in the States. Lovely Julia. Classically made with tuna, Nicoise olives, green beans or haricot verts, tomatoes, boiled red potatoes, hard boiled eggs, and anchovies. I’ve also had versions made with artichoke hearts, which I adore.
Truth be told, I’ve never loved tuna until I tried fresh tuna, be it in sushi or a seared steak. Somehow, it always seemed so fishy and laden with mayonnaise. Fresh tuna, seared for only a minute or two on each side, is succulent and melts in your mouth. I’ve created a simple yet modern take on the classic using handmade whole wheat pasta in lieu of the potatoes, crisp blanched green beans, delicate Liguria olives, fresh parsley, Sashimi tuna steak, and a lemon garlic dressing.
The dressing is both pucker from the lemon juice with heat from the garlic. I added an hint of Italian anchovy paste to the dressing, which is entirely optional but divine. Fresh anchovies are classic in a Nicoise, although I am admittedly working my way up to this acquired taste, with an emphasis on working. C’est la vie!
Seared Tuna Nicoise
4- 4 ounce sashimi grade tuna steaks
12 ounces whole wheat pasta
1/2 lb fresh green beans, blanched
1 c luguria or nicoise olives
1/2 c Italian flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
For the dressing
3 T fresh lemon juice
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/8 t Amore Italian anchovy paste, optional
Place a medium pot of salted water over high heat to boil. Place the pasta in the boiling water and cook until al dente. Drain and set aside.
Place a small saucepan of water on the stove to boil. Add trimmed green beans to the water for 1 minute to blanch. Remove from water and place in ice water to stop the cooking and set color. Roughly chop the parsley.
Heat the grill to high heat. Brush tuna steaks with olive oil and season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Sear the tuna for 1-2 minutes per side, depending on thickness of the steak. Remove the tuna and slice thinly.
Meanwhile, mix the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and anchovy paste for the dressing.
I like to serve this salad warm, rather than hot. Toss the tuna, pasta, green beans, olives, parsley, and dressing.