My summer pantry is usually a little lighter than my winter pantry as I use far more fresh ingredients, mostly from my kitchen garden. The French Nicoise Salad is one of my favorites and I like using whatever fresh veggies I find at the local farmers market or in my garden. As in most cases, the quality of ingredients that you use are directly reflected in the finished dish, therefore buy the best that you can afford. I use Italian tuna in olive oil; I love the Genova brand from Italy. Please don’t use all white tuna packed in water, as it has no flavor, better to leave it out. I drain most of the oil from the canned tuna, reserving it for use in making the salad dressing.
Another way to dress up the dish for a hot summer evening entree is to grill some fresh tuna or shrimp from your fishmonger. This recipe makes a beautifully plated salad for a buffet table but can be individually plated as well. Be creative and use what you have on hand.