Tuna Barley Nicoise

The traditional French salad Nicoise has always been a dieters delight. It is high in nutrients, low in fat and full of flavour. This is my modern variation on an already well established theme but adds more texture and interest. Don’t let the long ingredient list deter you, this salad is quick and easy to make!




For the salad:                                                            For the dressing:

6 tuna steaks (about 180g. each)                                juice of 3 lemons

1 Spanish onion, finely sliced                                    juice of 1 lime

500g. green beans, blanched                                      1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

2 red capsicums, roasted                                            2 tablespoons anchovy paste

1 cup pearl barley                                                       4 cloves garlic, minced

1 litre mild vegetable stock                                        1 teaspoon mixed dried herbs

2 hard boiled eggs                                                      1-2 tablespoons virgin olive oil

2 pink potatoes (Pontiac or Desiree)                          1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

½ cup chopped fresh parsley                                      1/2 cup vegetable stock

2 teaspoons fresh rosemary

1 teaspoon fresh oregano (or 1/2 dried)                     To Garnish:

1 teaspoon fresh marjoram (or 1/2 dried)                   2 Roma tomatoes, finely chopped

1 teaspoon olive oil or olive oil spray                        150g. Kalamata olives, finely chopped

a handful of baby lettuce leaves


Wash the potatoes well and slice (do not peel). Brush lightly (or spray) with olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt, pepper  and rosemary and bake on oven trays at 220c. for 45 minutes, turning during the cooking time. Remove the trays from the oven and keep warm.


Bring the stock to a boil and add the fresh oregano and marjoram. Add the barley, cover and simmer for 40 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. Soak the finely sliced Spanish onion in cold water for 30 minutes, then set aside. (This significantly reduces the ‘repeating’ effect of fresh onions).   Season the tuna steaks with salt and pepper and cook on a preheated grill pan for 2 minutes each side, until just cooked, or alternatively bake at 210c. for 7 minutes.


To make the dressing, whisk together all ingredients until thick then set aside. Mix prepared beans, onions rings, parsley  and half the dressing with the warm barley and toss thoroughly to distribute.


To assemble, place several slices of potato on the centre of each plate, top with  3 or 4 lettuce leaves, top with a generous spoonful of barley mixture, top with some egg slices, some roasted capsicum and a cooked fillet of tuna.  Place teaspoonfuls of diced tomato and chopped olives around the salad, then drizzle everything with remaining dressing. Sprinkle with remaining parsley and serve at room temperature.

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