A French chef recently got himself into trouble for cheerily telling viewers to add beans, potatoes, and parmesan in his salade niçoise recipe. It wouldn't be so bad if the report were in the local press, but this was on National French television Chanel 6.
Purists defending salade niçoise, a salad made in the style of Nice, claim salade niçoise should only be made with the freshest of uncooked vegetables. You can’t help feeling sorry for Cyril Lignac; he had to put up with loads of unfair comments from angry spectators. With words such as 'Defiling our culture,' the poor guy felt compelled to revise his original recipe containing 17 ingredients.
It all seems a bit unfair because Lignac is not the only French chef who strayed from tradition. French culinary writer Auguste Escoffier (1846 – 1935) also added green beans and potatoes to his salad niçoise. Defenders also attacked Escoffier saying he was not a real Nicois (a resident of Nice), which is unjust as he was born in Villeneuve-Lou bet, a few villages away from Nice.
And, if you type in salade niçoise into your favorite search engine, there are tons of made from heaven recipes for this French classic. Purists should recognize sticking to traditional methods does not make us creative and adventurous when it comes to cooking and enjoying food.
Making olive oil (so important for any salad nicoise) is an excellent example of how traditional methods can improve over time. Today, most olive oil mills have a centrifugal system of pressing olives, replacing the original millstone method, which was unhygienic and time-consuming. But some consumers still look for olive oil pressed the authentic way, holding on to a tradition that is no longer efficient. On visiting a modern mill at harvest time, they are surprised at the progress commenting on how clean and odor-free the premises are.
Thankfully extra virgin olive oil is much tastier and healthier, all because of new modern techniques
To summarize, holding on to tradition is not always the best solution.. And don’t fret, you can add whatever vegetables you like in a salad niçoise.
Here's what you need for a colorful, healthy, vibrant salad niçoise.
|Salade Niçoise |
Cos lettuce leaves
250 gms. French (green) beans
1 Lebanese cucumber sliced
½ red sliced onion
4 tomatoes cut in 8
3 waxy potatoes cooked and quartered
1 tin of tuna chunks or fillets in olive oil, drained
1 can of anchovies in olive oil, drained
½ cup of green or black olives