The correct ingredients of a niçoise salad are debated by aficionados, but everyone agrees that tuna, anchovies, hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes, and olives are the most common. The dish, which originated in the city of Nice, in the South of France, isn’t always easy to make; each item needs to be cooked separately, though some of the vegetables can be cooked in the same pot of boiling water to save time.
This recipe calls for grilled fresh tuna, quail eggs, and an assortment of vegetables drizzled with a mustard vinaigrette. When choosing olives, make sure they are the imported black variety, not the canned type from California. Select tuna that has a rosy color and as little veining as possible; avoid fish with heavy veining and a dull, dark, or dry appearance. Quail eggs are usually beige with brown spots, can weigh less than half an ounce, and are usually served hard-boiled as a snack or garnish.
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