Niçoise Toast Is The Tuna Salad Sandwich's Dapper Older Cousin

Tuna salad sandwiches are an iconic lunchtime staple. Swapped for chicken and ham in salad recipes of the 19th century, Smithsonian Magazine reports that as more women engaged in public life and then the workforce, deli counters started accommodating to their preferences, offering creamy salads, and eventually in between bread as an on-the-go option. But, if you're looking to refine your tried and true tuna salad sandwich recipe, then look to its dapper older cousin, the niçoise toast.

First things first, what is a salade niçoise? Originating in the seaside town of Nice, Serious Eats explains that niçoise salad consists of tuna, in addition to tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, potatoes, green beans, and fresh herbs. Although it isn't rare to find olives, anchovies, fava beans, or other seasonal produce either. The salad is usually dressed in a light, yet zesty, vinaigrette and served layered rather than mixed. A niçoise toast is essentially a riff on the salad, placed on top of bread, in a revamped version of a classic tuna salad sandwich.

A fresher, fancier, and more French tuna salad

Similar to a pan bagnat, niçoise toast instead swaps the (intentionally) soggy bread for crispy fried toast, adds some creamy aioli, and is served open-faced — hence, why it's sometimes referred to as a niçoise tartine. With the same level of richness, the French sandwich imparts some elegance with its array of colorful veggies and light dressing. 

To construct a niçoise toast, Mashed recommends topping toasted and fried bread with aioli before layering on vinaigrette-dressed tomatoes, drained tuna chunks, quartered boiled eggs, and kalamata olives. Finish with fresh herbs, and serve with a glass of fruity and crisp Marsanne (via Gourmet Traveler) if you want to feel like you're having lunch somewhere along the French Riviera.

While using fresh produce is key, working with a fresh tuna steak isn't necessary for this recipe. Good quality canned tuna will work fantastically, which is why Bon Appétit recommends splurging on premium tuna that's packed in oil, as it'll contribute to flavor. Not a fan of tuna at all? Swap chicken of the sea for actual chicken in this niçoise-inspired salad.