Deconstructed Tuna Niçoise Salad

You know how perfectly styled coffee tables are all the rage right now?

Deconstructed Tuna Niçoise Salad

I mean I totally appreciate the beauty of an artfully curated collection of gold knick-knacks, candles, and fashion books upon some uber-chic tray atop an iron West Elm coffee table, and I would of course love to have one myself, but I for one cannot live like that because I have a hubby who likes to throw up his man-feet on the table after work whilst entranced by that blonde ‘Mother of Dragons’ babe in Game of Thrones or the current college basketball game and guzzling a bottle of Wisconsin-brewed beer.

2012-04-07 19.07.37

If I placed anything cute on the coffee table I know that he would promptly remove it. C’est la vie…


One arena of the house I do have complete control over, however, is exactly one half of the dinner table (the other half is med-school-textbook-arena).

butter lettuce

Plus I’m in charge on what’s on the dinner menu every night. 😉

sushi-grade tuna

Tuna is such a treat for me (fresh, wild tuna is a little on the pricier side), but I don’t mind spending a little more because it is SO flavorful and satiating.

tuna in a cast-iron skillet

ESPECIALLY after a grueling Crossfit workout.

tuna steak

Oh em gee Sunday’s workout was so tough that I literally came home and was in a MUST-EAT-ALL-THE-THINGS! mode.

Deconstructed Tuna Nicoise Salad

If I could, I would make this salad every night for dinner.

Deconstructed Tuna Niçoise Salad

It has a little this and a little that, and it’s fun to “construct” your own salad with the colorful bits and pieces laid out on the platter. I do hope you try it and enjoy.

Deconstructed Tuna Nicoise Salad

And P.S. I’m on Vine! Time to join the party, people. You can check out the Vine I made of this dish here.

Deconstructed Tuna Niçoise Salad
Adapted from Cooking Light, April 2013
Serves 2 plus leftovers

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  • 6 oz. fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 1 large head butter lettuce, root sliced off and leaves separated (I got the hydroponic kind that comes with its root still attached. Lightly rinse and pat dry the lettuce if necessary.)
  • 1/3 cup julienned fresh basil leaves
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved lengthwise
  • 2 hard-boiled peeled eggs, quartered lengthwise *I made a big batch ahead of time by doing this: Add a dozen eggs and a dash of baking soda to a medium saucepan filled halfway with water and bring to a rolling boil.  Once boiling, turn off the heat and let sit for 17 minutes with the lid on. Shock in a bowl filled with ice cubes and cold water. Crack eggs against a hard surface and peel. Save in an airtight container in the fridge.
  • 2 tsp. butter
  • 1 (8-oz.) tuna steak, preferably wild-caught
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. water
  • Dash of Kosher or sea salt
  • ~1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 ½ Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. capers (optional, but they are amazing!)

To prepare salad, cook green beans in boiling water for 4 minutes or until crisp tender. Drain and rinse under cold water.

To prepare tuna, heat a skillet (preferably cast-iron) over medium-high heat for about 8 minutes to let it get very hot. Sprinkle tuna all over with Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper (don’t skimp). Add 2 tsp. butter to pan; swirl to coat. Add tuna to pan; cook for about 1 minute on each side for rare or until desired degree of doneness. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest a few minutes. Slice thinly across the grain with a sharp knife.

To prepare dressing, combine lemon juice and next 4 ingredients (through garlic) in a small bowl; gradually add 3 ½ Tbsp. oil, stirring constantly with a whisk. Stir in capers, if desired. Transfer to a small serving bowl or gravy boat.

To construct salad, arrange butter lettuce leaves evenly over a large platter. Add green beans, basil leaves, grape tomatoes, red pepper, olives, hard-boiled eggs, and sliced tuna in groupings over the leaves. Season salad with a few grinds of fresh ground pepper all over. Serve salad with tongs. Pass dressing and drizzle judiciously over salads.

deconstructed tuna nicoise salad

10 responses to “Deconstructed Tuna Niçoise Salad

  1. I love, love, love Niçoise Salad! The de-constructed part is so fun, too. Makes me want to throw a salad party with a Niçoise bar. 🙂

  2. What a beautiful dinner! There’s nothing quite like fresh tuna 🙂


  3. Looks delicious.. Love the light sear on the tuna!

  4. saltysweetsour

    Love this! Absolutely the perfectly styled salad.

  5. This looks delicious! And I love the step by step photos! I received your email (haven’t had a chance to respond yet), but I would be happy to meet with you!


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