This one’s a French classic with an Asian twist. Basically, a Salad Nicoise is a summer salad of tomatoes, potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, olives, and anchovies originating from the French city of Nice. Well, we’re keeping most of those components in this recipe, adding sous vide cooked tuna, and flavoring it with an Asian-inspired vinaigrette instead of a traditional French one. I apologize if I may have disappointed the hopes of some for this fusion. Let me just make up by simply saying that this may be far from the usual Nicoise but is indeed worth trying!
I apologize if I may have disappointed the hopes of some with this fusion. Let me just make up by simply saying that this may be far from the usual Nicoise but is indeed worth trying!
Let’s start with a good chunk of tuna loin, yes fresh tuna. You may simply go for canned fish but you just know that it won’t taste the same. Canned tuna will always be dry and taste more like tin than tuna.
Give the fish a good seasoning of salt or some spices if you will. I’d like mine simple as with most of my cooking – keeping the natural flavors of excellent produce as much as I could.
Let the tuna sit for about 5 minutes to allow the salt to work deeper into its flesh. Then, get it into a sous vide bag with a bit of olive oil. The oil will give our tuna a smoother exterior as it cooks.
We’re going for a doneness similar to canned tuna so this is going to cook at 130F for 15 minutes in your water bath.
Meanwhile, let’s whisk up a simple Asian vinaigrette. Soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, Sri Racha, lime juice, sesame seeds, minced garlic, and grated ginger. Proportions? Go by feel, or by taste should I say? Start with equal portions of soy sauce, honey, Sri Racha, and lime juice. Taste then adjust to your liking. Then add in the garlic, ginger, and sesame oil. Again, taste and adjust. Finally, whisk in some olive oil, or any neutral flavored oil to bring your vinaigrette together.
After 15 minutes, our tuna would be perfectly cooked – moist and exactly flaky. You need to stop it from cooking any further so it would be best to shock it in an ice bath. We’re putting it into a salad anyway so it’ll be perfectly fine left cold.
Feel free to work your choice of salad vegetables into your platter. I just tried to get this interpretation quite worthy of being called a Nicoise in some way, so I kept quite close to the original components.
Honestly, that tuna and Asian vinaigrette would work with a simple Mesclun. Even over sushi rice just like I did with the leftovers.