Classic Salad Niçoise

Makes four first course salads or two main course salads

12 quail eggs

1 clove of garlic, peeled and halved (optional)

1 cucumber, sliced

1/2 cup peeled fava beans

1 1/2 cups salad greens

1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup olives (we used kalamata, though niçoise olives would be more authentic)

2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves

2 fresh tomatoes, quartered

1 cup canned fish (tuna or anchovies are classic, we also experimented with mackerel).

Good quality extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar (served at the table)

First, hard boil the quail eggs.  Submerge the eggs in a mixture of water and vinegar (ranging from 1/2 and 1/2 to 1/4 vinegar and 3/4 water) in a pot.  Bring to a boil.  Once the water is boiling, time the eggs for 4 minutes, then remove.  Drain the eggs and put them ice water.  Peel some, but leave other unpeeled because they look pretty on the plate.  (Note: You can use hard boiled chicken eggs – 4 quail eggs = 1 chicken egg).

There are two different approaches to this salad.  You could use a wooden salad bowl and toss everything together.  To do this, take your halved garlic, and rub the inside of the bowl with it.  Combine all ingredients (except for the fish) and toss in the bowl, then distribute to plates.  Add the fish, serve and enjoy.

We decided to arrange and layer the salad instead of tossing it together.  Starting with a bed of greens, we added and layered the other ingredients on top, going for a controlled chaos sort of presentation. There’s no wrong way to do it.

Once the salad is served, pass around the olive oil and vinegar (when it’s on a salad like this, the quality really counts for oil and vinegar) and let you/your guests add the dressing to their liking.  ENJOY!

We got inspiration for making this salad authentic and classic from this site.

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