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Happy Birthday, Julia Child! *plus* a Salade Niçoise Recipe

Thursday, August 15, 2013

{Julia Child was born 101 years ago today.}

In honor of Julia's birthday, I decided to take out my copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking and make something special.  

I've wanted to make a Salade Niçoise for such a long time.  Salade Niçoise originated in  Nice, France, and the traditional French recipe includes lettuce, tomatoes, green beans, tuna, anchovies, olives, and eggs.  I love how elegant it looks on a platter.  It can be served as an appetizer, but I think it's perfect as the main course for a summertime supper.  Although there are very many variations to the salad, I prefer the classic version.



1 T white wine vinegar
1T lemon juice
1/8 t salt
1/4 t dry mustard
6 T olive oil
Big pinch of pepper
Pinch of Herbs de Provence (dried herbs)

1. In a bowl, whisk the vinegar, lemon juice, salt, pepper, herbs, and mustard.

2. Whisk in the oil in a slow, steady stream; set aside.


3 eggs
¾ pound green beans, trimmed
1 pound (about 10 to 12) small potatoes such as yellow creamers
4 medium tomatoes, cut into quarters or eighths
1 head of bibb or Boston lettuce, leaves separated
2 cans (6 or 7 ounces each) tuna in olive oil, drained
½ cup Niçoise olives
1 can or jar (2 ounces) anchovy fillets, drained ( left these out)
3 tablespoons chopped mixed herbs, such as tarragon, oregano, basil, or parsley (I only used basil)

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the eggs and cook for 10 minutes. Transfer the eggs to a bowl of ice water. Crack the shells all over and remove a piece of shell. Let the eggs cool.

2. Salt the water. Add the green beans and cook for 2 minutes. Lift out with tongs and rinse with very cold water.

3. Return the water to a boil. Add the potatoes. Cook for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a small knife. Drain and transfer to a bowl.

4. As soon as the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel and slice thickly. Add ⅓ cup of the vinaigrette. With a rubber spatula, gently toss the warm potatoes with the dressing; set aside to cool. After the potatoes have cooled, you may toss with a little mayonnaise.  I used about 2T olive oil mayonnaise.

5. In another bowl, toss the beans with 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette to coat them.

6. In a third bowl, toss the tomatoes with 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette to coat them.

7. On a large platter, arrange the lettuce. Add the potatoes, beans, and tomatoes. Top with tuna, olives, and anchovies. Spoon some of the remaining dressing over the salad and sprinkle with the herbs. Peel the eggs, pat them dry, and halve them. Garnish the platter with the eggs.  I also topped the salad with freshly ground black pepper.   Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

Always use the best quality tuna available.

Julia Child makes a Salade Niçoise

Until next time...

Bon Appétit!
~Ricki Jill


  1. perfect summer meal! I just love the color of the book as well,

  2. What a sweet post! I need to get a cookbook out and make a new dish today. We're in a rut! Sweet hugs!

  3. I love this salad, it has always been a stand-by recipe for a delicious summer luncheon. Julia was amazing...have you read the latest bio...Dearie? It is excellent! Bon Appetite to you.

  4. Love this! I have a couple of her first videos and her cookbook. She's such a class act and a cooking legend. The story of her life is interesting. My favorite salad!

  5. Ricki Jill,
    I love salad Nicoise. I came very close to getting Julia to sign my newly purchased 40th anniversary copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, but she ended up having to cancel her book signing at Sur La Table due to knee surgery...this was a short time before she died. I owned my first copy of the book since 1973 and it was pretty tattered from use. Great post.

  6. That looks delicious, Ricki Jill. I used to love watching Julia cook. xo Laura

  7. Ah, I love Salad Nicoise! (And I don't normally enjoy salads)
    Julia Child is so enthusiastic and upbeat, she just inspires me to make so many things.
    Plus, for whatever reason, French Green Beans are tastier and less squeaky than any other kind I've tried.

  8. Thanks for the reminder! I used to make this all the time years ago, and I haven't done it for a long time. I think I just might do it again very soon -- hadn't thought about it in a long time. Your looks beautiful! I used to leave out the anchovies, too, and then when I was getting older, somebody brought me some in a gift basket, telling me they were special from Spain. So I opened them, and to my surprise discovered that I liked them!

  9. I was thinking about commenting on how I couldn't believe you didn't have any Julia Childs day decorations, but then...THEN you got me with that napkin ring!

  10. I can't wait to try this wonderful dish, your recipe sounds so easy and I know I like all the ingredients, soooo I know I will love it...Your post was fun to read and I am enjoying browsing around your blog and getting to know you a little....I am your newest follower and I will be back again to see what wonders you are up to...Cone on over for a visit, I have some watermelon for you and a wonderful cocktail, your gonna love...Phyllis

  11. Oh- Haven't seen this in a long time! I always picture Julia C as being about 55 years old, potting around the kitchen with that "voice". I also think about the Saturday Night Live skit they did about her and the blood spurting all over everything when "she" cut her "finger". lol xo Diana

  12. One of our favorite salads! Nicoise is such a pretty presentation. Nice tribute. We always remember Julia's birthday.

  13. Looks delicious! Thanks for the recipe! I didn't explore Julia Childs much but I have wanted to see Julia & Julia for a long time! Have you seen it?

  14. I have a few of her Tart books. Great sweet recipes.
    Wow 101!

  15. I don't have that cookbook and need to get it! Your Salade looks fresh and amazing. I would eat that any time...especially if someone else made it for me! Happy Weekend, Ann

  16. Every year I miss her birthday. I'm putting on the calendar for next year!

  17. I'm so glad I scrolled down to this post that I missed. I printed it out--boy, did I print it out, forgot to change the setting from "all" to a page at a time. So now I'll have more Art & Home pages to look at ! I made this decades before for my husband's 40th birthday party from Julia's recipe. Yours turned out much prettier than mine, maybe because I used a big blue willow platter and it just didn't suit it as well as yours does.

    I gave my old cookbook to my daughter after she fell in love with the movie, Julie and Julia. Also gave her Vol. II. It was time to pass the torch on!


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I'm Ricki Jill. Welcome! I'm an artist and an avid reader, and I also enjoy decorating for the seasons. For more information about my blog, please read the Start Here page. Thank-you for reading The Bookish Dilettante!

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