What To Look For When Visiting A Seafood Restaurant In Ottawa
Hailing from Nice, France, salade niçoise is characterized by a few unique ingredients. Most North American versions of a salade niçoise will typically include some form of hard-boiled eggs, potatoes, green beans, tomatoes, olives, tuna and salad greens. Creating the prefect salad niçoise can be tricky and even controversial. While the rules may be fast and loose, here’s a general idea of what to look for next time you order salad niçoise from a seafood restaurant in Ottawa:
If you’re ordering a salade niçoise from a seafood restaurant in Ottawa, you’re guaranteed to find tuna in it. While it can be canned or fresh, if it is canned, it should be packed in oil rather than water to maximize the flavor. If the tuna is fresh, it’s best when seared on the outside and cooked until rare on the inside.
The potatoes in a salade niçoise are almost always boiled and diced, though it’s not uncommon to find a wide variety of potatoes in the salad. Blue, red, Yukon Gold, yellow, or even Russet potatoes are all common choices.
Much like a Cobb salad, salade niçoise includes a hard-boiled egg to complete the dish. To help keep the egg intact when serving, it should be halved or quartered instead of sliced.
The Green Beans
A classic French salade niçoise recipe will call for haricots verts, which are a slightly different variety of regular green beans. Haricots verts are longer, skinnier, more tender, and are a bit more flavourful than regular green beans. Standard green beans will do just fine in a pinch, however.
Unlike a Caesar salad, a niçoise dressing doesn’t have to be quite as particular. If you’re at a seafood restaurant in Ottawa, the dressing will probably be their house variety and will contain some combination of oil, vinegar, herbs, and spices.
Tomatoes, onions, capers, chives, basil, and other herbs are all commonly used in or added as garnishes to the salad.
As with any classic, however, salade niçoise is open to interpretation, and there are many chefs who feel very strongly about what should or should not be included. For example, one topic of debate is whether or not anchovies should be included, and if so, whether they should be used in conjunction with or in lieu of tuna.
So which seafood is the right one? According to Nice’s former mayor, Jacques Medecin, the answer is technically both. Traditionally, anchovies were used since they were less expensive, while tuna was reserved for special occasions. Medecin did state that the two would never be used simultaneously, though.
While every seafood restaurant in Ottawa may have a different take on the classic, at the end of the day, the perfect salad niçoise comes down to taste and personal preference.