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How to Prepare a Nice French Salad

 What is the origin of Salade Niçoise? I thought it was French, but a friend told me it is Italian.

 Well, don’t forget, some/many Italians claim all French cooking as their own.

When Catherine de' Medici of Florence married Henry (eventually to become King Henry II of France) in 1533 and moved to Paris, she apparently was afraid she would waste away with French cooking. She imported a brigade of Italian cooks and her pastry chef, and their influence – and many of the foods they brought with them – certainly had a lasting impact on the evolution of French cooking.

Whether that allows them to claim French cooking as an offshoot of their own 500 years later is open for debate, but perhaps it has something to do with your wacky friend and his wacky thinking.

In any event, Niçoise is the French adjective for "of Nice" – meaning Nice, the large French city on the Mediterranean, not "wow, that shirt looks nice," and pronounced in English as "niece." The salad is based on green beans, tomatoes, hard-cooked eggs, anchovies, ripe olives, tuna, a vinaigrette, and may include lettuce, capers, shallots or garlic, and occasionally some other ingredients.

We are not aware of any legitimate Italian claim to the Salade Niçoise, although it is certainly a Mediterranean creation, and Nice is barely 15 miles from the Italian border.

Recommended recipes:
Julia Child's Salad Niçoise
Niçoise Salad

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