Niçoise Salad is a lot like jambalaya in that there are endless variations and much quibbling over the “right” way to make the dish. These two contrasting foods also share deep geographical roots. As jambalaya hails from Louisiana (and exact manifestations vary depending upon where in Louisiana) so Niçoise salad has its roots in Côte d’Azur, better known as the French Riviera.
Sadly, I’ve never been. But if I close my eyes and breath just right while I chew a bite of Niçoise Salad, I can imagine the sound of the ocean and the warmth of the sunshine. Of course, I might not be eating the “right” salad. The UK’s darling periodical the Guardian once gave significant column inches to hash out the best ingredient list for the perfect version. It also noted that the ideal is probably just out of grasp:
Of course none of them will quite match up to the perfect salade niçoise you had on holiday a few summers back, your table set under a white parasol just a couple of steps from the beach. You were tanned, your shoulders sparkled with sand and you had the quietly smug smile of someone who has had sex three times in the last 24 hours. Sadly, there is no seasoning quite so tasty as nostalgia.