The Dinna Ladies

A Tale of Two Cities: Foodie Sisters Wining and Dining in D.C. & Boston
By the Book

Classic Salad Nicoise

Any of you part of a book or supper club? How about mixing the two into one mouthwatering and intellectually-stimulating evening? My friend Marissa hosted a group of ladies last night to do just that- we discussed All the Light We Cannot See, the 2015 Pulitzer winner for best fiction and one of my personal favorites.  Since it’s set in France during World War II, we dined on all French-inspired food- shortbread cookies, smoky sausage, a divine lavender and rosemary-crusted lamb, and incredible cheese and red wine straight off the plane from Paris (thanks Marissa!).  My contribution was salad nicoise, a classic French salad typically served as an entrée dish.  While more labor intensive than I imagined, the end result was a beautiful, filling salad that’s perfect for a group dinner or to bring to your next potluck! I stole Food Network’s recipe, but thanks to Google there are plenty out there.

A word of warning: though the recipe notes a total of 55 minutes to cook and prepare, I was at it for closer to 2 hours thanks to waiting for things to boil and things to cool. At least I got to work on my patience 🙂





  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1/2 shallot, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • 1 head Boston lettuce, leaves separated
  • 6 radishes, trimmed and quartered (Trader Joe’s didn’t have radishes so I substituted endives, part of the chicory family and packed with a licorice-like flavor)
  • 2 5 1/2 ounce cans albacore tuna packed in olive oil, drained
  • 1/2 cup nicoise olives (I used just plain black olives as TJ’s was lacking in this department as well)


Put the potatoes in a medium saucepan; cover with cold water and season with salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook until fork-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and transfer to a medium bowl; drizzle with the wine and let cool. Reserve the saucepan.

Meanwhile, bring a separate saucepan of salted water to a boil. Fill a bowl with salted ice water. Add the haricots verts to the boiling water; cook until crisp-tender and bright green, 2 to 4 minutes. Drain and immediately plunge into the ice water to cool; drain and pat dry.

Place the eggs in the reserved saucepan and cover with cold water by about 1 inch. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then cover, remove from the heat and let stand, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain, then run under cold water to cool. Peel under cold running water.

Make the dressing: Whisk the vinegar, shallot, mustard, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste in a bowl. Whisk in the olive oil in a slow, steady stream until emulsified.

Toss the tomatoes ian a small bowl with salt and pepper to taste. Add about 1/4 cup dressing to the potatoes and toss. Quarter the hard-cooked eggs.

Divide the lettuce among 4 plates. Arrange the potatoes, haricots verts, radishes, hard-cooked eggs and tuna on top. Pour any juices from the tomatoes into the dressing, then add the tomatoes to the plates. Drizzle with the dressing and top with the olives. (I put all the ingredients in neat piles on top of my stack of lettuce and endives).

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