Seared Ahi Tuna Niçoise Salad
This traditional French tuna salad hails from the coastal city of Nice and was introduced to America by Julia Child. It combines some of the finest Mediterranean ingredients, like Niçoise olives, anchovies, and tuna, with an assortment of backyard vegetables such as haricots verts, tomatoes, and lettuce. Made with ahi tuna steaks this classic can make two substantial and satisfying entrées for dinner, or four lunch-size portions.
- 2 yellowfin (ahi) tuna steaks, 8 oz. each
- 1 lb. small new red potatoes
- ½ lb. haricots verts, trimmed
- ½ cup Niçoise olives
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and cut into quarters
- 6 - 8 anchovy filets, in olive oil
- 1 head of Boston bibb lettuce, washed, drained, and dried
- ¼ cup dry white wine WHITE WINE VINAIGRETTE:
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ cup Jean Reno Olive Oil – Classic Blend
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Thaw two tuna steaks overnight in the refrigerator. Remove from packaging, place on a paper towel-lined plate or tray, or on a wire rack. Allow about 12 hours, and once thawed, give a good pat-down with paper towels to remove any remaining moisture before cooking. Allow tuna to come to room temperature.
- Place potatoes in a medium-sized pot, cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, and then simmer until tender but not mushy (about 15 minutes, until a fork can easily puncture and slide through). Drain immediately, slice into quarters, and place in a bowl. Toss the potatoes with ¼ cup white wine, ⅓ cup white wine vinaigrette, salt, pepper, and minced tarragon. Set aside.
- Bring another pot of heavily salted water to a boil, drop in the trimmed haricots verts, cook until the beans are bright green and crisp, 2-3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and immediately dunk into an ice bath. This will help to retain a bright green color. Tip: Also salt the ice bath, so the green beans will be well-seasoned for the salad.
- Heat a sauté pan or cast iron over a high flame. While the pan is heating, season tuna on both sides with salt and pepper. Once the pan is piping hot add neutral cooking olive oil; when the oil ripples, add the tuna steaks. Wait until a crust forms on the bottom before flipping the steak; the key is to flip just once. Cook the second side very briefly for 1-2 minutes and remove from the pan (looking for a medium-rare – rare interior temperature). Place on a resting rack to cool slightly. Once cooled slightly, cut into strips to present as a family-style platter or portion steaks for each individual serving.
- Dress lettuce leaves with ⅓ cup of white wine vinaigrette in a bowl, with salt and pepper to taste, then arrange on individual plates or a serving platter. Garnish with olives, eggs, anchovies, tomatoes, and dressed potatoes. Arrange cooked tuna steaks on top of greens with remaining dressing on the side.