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The Art of Flavour Sunday e-magazine


Paris, Nice and a row over Salad Nicoise

Arthur Huxley - 18-04-2022

Hi everybody, it’s nice to be with you for the late August Art of Flavour Epicurean.

I wonder if anybody has picked up on a right royal row that is playing out in France between Nice and Paris and their passionate food writers, food scholars and restaurants.

The argument is over the true origin and true ingredients in a Salad Nicoise.

You can imagine the importance of this given that Salad Nicoise originated in Nice and we now have the present day ingredients being claimed by the Paris Chefs. A serious matter !

From what you read the Culinary Scholars of Paris are dismissive of Nice and will tell you that the original Salad Nicoise was little more than sliced tomato with anchovies and olive oil dressing. It was then left to the Paris Kitchens to develop the present day ingredients.

Naturally this has upset the Nice team no end and it would appear they have set out to right this injustice.

Providing everybody can stay calm this sort of thing that generates discussion is welcome. The trouble is it would seem that nobody really knows what the true ingredients really are.

To start, the Paris Chefs offered the work of legendary Larousse Gastronomique as the definitive recipe. The recipe offers boiled beans and boiled potatoes but makes no mention of tuna.

The Nice people immediately replied in a published article that the Larousse recipe is rubbish. And anyway, it was a recipe labeled A Mediterranean Salad. So not part of the discussion.

In reply the Paris Chefs are firm that their version should always have the boiled potatoes and boiled green beans added to the accepted tomatoes, hard boiled eggs, olives and anchovies. They are equally firm that the Nice Chefs use of raw, sliced green peppers has no place in a true Nicoise recipe.

Interestingly nobody seems to claim tuna but the Paris Kitchens accept that it is now part of the “world” Salad Nicoise recipe. Given this, perhaps we should give the Americans credit for this addition.

And amongst all this debate there is a wise observation that if you happen to be dining in Nice it would be best (and safest) to accept their raw green peppers and do not to ask for boiled green beans and boiled potatoes in your Nicoise Salad.

Hoping to join this debate we humbly offer our version of Salad Nicoise for your comment. See Recipe in Bits and Pieces in recipes