Julia Child Salad Nicoise recipe is filled with classic components olives, capers, and fresh vegetables all tossed with a simple vinaigrette.
Julia Child Salad Nicoise
AKA Mediterranean Combination Salad as Julia calls it in Mastering the Art of French Cooking. We are keeping Julia Child’s salad nicoise recipe as true to the original as possible.
I like to do this with most Julia recipes, such as with Julia Child’s ratatouille recipe. There are layers that take time, but in the end, the flavors come together very well.
Salad Nicoise Components
Use the best and freshest ingredients you can find for this salad, since each element shines just as bright as the next. I love the combinations of the briny olives and capers with the warm potato salad and savory eggs.
Crisp Lettuce Leaves: I love the look of fresh large leaves layered on a platter. Red leaf lettuce and bib lettuce are great options.
Tomatoes: Sweet cherry tomatoes are used in this recipe, but in season roma tomatoes and heirloom tomatoes would be delicious.
Green Beans: or haricoverts that are quickly blanched (quick boil then green beans are submerged in ice cold water to keep the color and crispness).
Potatoes: Thin skinned Gold potatoes are perfect. Boiled and kept warm and seasoned with a simple vinaigrette.
Hard Boiled Eggs: Peeled and quartered. This is a great time to make a large batch.
Black Olives: Traditionally, nicoise olives are served with salad nicoise, but easier to find Kalamata offers a similar brininess.
Capers and Anchovies: Both provide saltiness. If you don’t like anchovy fillets, feel free to omit.
Salad Nicoise Dressing
A simple whisk of red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper dresses the salad. Julia suggests adding finely chopped herbs, such as parsley, or tarragon or a pinch of dried herbs.
Helpful Tips on Arranging
- After washing, dry the lettuce very well to avoid water accumulation on the platter.
- Add a few tablespoons of the vinaigrette to the potatoes while they are still warm.
- You can also dress the green beans ahead of time.
- Reserve dressing the other more tender components until right before serving, such as the tomatoes and lettuce, to prevent wilting.
Julia Child’s Salad Nicoise
- 1 pound fresh green beans ends trimmed and blanched
- 1 head of red leaf lettuce leaves removed, washed and dried well
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes cut in half
- 6 ounces oil packed tuna flaked
- 4 hard-boiled eggs halved lengthwise
- 2-3 anchovy fillets
- 1/2 cup Kalamata olives or Nicoise olives pitted and cut in half or chopped
- 4 tablespoons capers
- Flat leaf parsley hard stems removed and chopped finely, for garnish
French Potato Salad
- 3-4 Gold potatoes cooked to fork tender
- Salt and pepper to taste
Vinaigrette (makes about 1/2 cup)
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon optional, or use fresh
- Salt and pepper to taste
- If you haven't yet, blanch, prep the green beans by blanching them. Bring a pot of water to a boil and boil green beans for 2 minutes, then immediately transfer to a bowl filled with ice water.
- Remove green beans from water and set aside.
- Whisk all of the dressing ingredients together in a bowl until blended and emulsified (or shake in a mason jar). Set aside while you prepare the rest of the salad.
- Add potatoes to a cold pot of water and bring to a boil until just fork tender. Once done, remove and let cool enough to handle. Slice or quarter potatoes and toss with 2 tablespoons of vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Assemble Salad Nicoise
- Shortly before serving, line a large, wide salad bowl or platter with lettuce leaves and drizzle with some of the vinaigrette.
- Toss the green beans with 1-2 tablespoons of vinaigrette and arrange on platter, along with the potato salad.
- Drizzle a spoonful or two of the dressing over the tomatoes and tuna and arrange on platter.
- Layer the rest of the salad ingredients around the platter, olives, capers, eggs and anchovies.
- Drizzle the rest of the vinaigrette onto salad and garnish with finely chopped parsley.
This post was originally published in June, 2012 and updated March 2022 with updated photography, clearer instructions, retested recipe and added nutritional information.