This recipe is a great twist on Tuna Salad Nicoise and is great to make when you have guests with different tastes, as you can set out bowls of salad ingredients and let everyone choose their favorite components. You can prepare the tuna however you like, or even used canned tuna (if you do, the tuna in oil is better). My housemate seared our fresh tuna with Dijon mustard on the outside...yum! I made my salad with arugula, orzo, green beans, and little bits of olives, onions, and artichoke hearts, along with the seared tuna. Pretty!
Niçoise Orzo Salad (adapted from Epicurious)
1 cup (about 1/2 pound) orzo
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme leaves
1/2 pound green beans, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch pieces
Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 to 1 pound fresh tuna, seared (depending on how tuna-heavy you'd like your salad)
a 6-ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/3 cup Kalamata or other brine-cured black olives if desired, chopped
2 cups chopped arugula, washed and spun dry
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3 anchovies, chopped
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced and mashed to a paste with 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 to 1/3 cup olive oil (preferably extra-virgin)
1. In a large saucepan of salted boiling water cook orzo until tender and drain in a colander. Rinse orzo well under cold water and drain well. Transfer orzo to a large bowl and add the thyme.
2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the green beans in olive oil and place in a heavy baking pan. Roast until tender and browned, about 20 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, prepare the tuna and vegetables. Place the tuna on a platter and the vegetables in small bowls for everyone to choose from.
4. Prepare the dressing: In a blender blend together vinegar, lemon juice, anchovies, mustard, and garlic paste. With motor running add oil in a stream and blend until emulsified.
5. Toss the dressing with the orzo and allow everyone to build their own salad.