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I could reinvent the Niçoise salad a thousand ways, and I have. But what brings me back to it constantly is how punchy it is. Big flavors. Big colors. Big personalities. This is not a salad of wallflowers—illustrated perfectly by the fact that lettuce is an afterthought. Just thick chunks of tuna, briny olives, emphatic little capers, and sun-bright lemon.
And that's what I've reduced it to here. Fresh tuna steaks roasted with salt and olive oil and cut into chunks. Sweet grape tomatoes, simply halved. Green and black olives. Capers for punch. Olive oil and lemon. Combined, they make a simple salad that turns into the topping on this easy tartine. The only other embellishment on the grilled bread is a swipe of garlic and a simple basil fromage blanc to anchor everything and bring in that taste of Provence.
The taste, even at this time of year, is so fresh and sun-soaked, you can't help but feel like the sun must be shining somewhere. Probably in Nice.