Cold-Smoked Albacore Tuna Niçoise Salad

By | January 14, 2015


Chef Schley’s Step-by-Step Directions for Cold-Smoking

I cold-smoked the tuna—smoked it with ice to keep the internal temperature of the smoker lower around the fish. It stayed in the smoker for about 1 hour. I like to use applewood, because it has a great flavor. Here’s how you can create a home version of a cold smoker:

30 ounce can, lid and label removed, thoroughly washed
4 charcoal briquettes
2 cups of applewood chips, soaked in water for several hours

Put the can with the 4 briquettes on one side of the bottom of the grill and light them. Once the coals have achieved a grey color, add the wood chips on top of the coals.

Next, put a metal baking pan full of ice on the opposite side of the bottom of the grill. To smoke, replace the screen on top of the grill and place the tuna over the side of the grill with the ice. Cover the grill. Smoke until the coals have burned and the can is empty. Then, remove the tuna and cut it into 4 (4-ounce) steaks.

Have more charcoal ready to grill the tuna until the desired temperature. I prefer my tuna on the rare to medium-rare side; to achieve this, cook for about 1 to 2 minutes per side, uncovered.

Alternately, you may simply pan-sear the tuna. When you are ready to serve, heat the pan to high heat, season the 4 (4-ounce) portions with salt and pepper. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the heated pan and place all 4 pieces of tuna into the pan. Sear until desired rareness.

Fire-roast the Peppers

While the coals are heating up, and before I smoke the fish, I like to fire-roast my red bell peppers.

Once blackened, place them in airtight container until cool, and then peel.

Blanch the Beans

Blanch the green beans in boiling salted water for about 30–45 seconds. Remove and place in an ice water bath to cool them quickly and stop the cooking process.

Steam the Eggs

Steam the eggs for 12 minutes, and then ice, peel and quarter.

Or, you can use the traditional method of cooking them in a pot covered in water: Bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes. Drain and ice to chill, then peel and quarter.

Roast the Vegetables

Preheat oven to 400°.

Place cleaned beets into a baking dish with water and add vinegar, thyme, salt and pepper. Roast for about 45 minutes to an hour, until a toothpick can easily go through the beet. Peel and quarter.

Cut potato in half lengthwise and toss with a touch of olive oil, kosher salt, pepper and fresh chopped thyme, about 2 sprigs’ worth. In the same 400° oven, place the potatoes on lined baking sheet and roast for 10–15 minutes, until golden.

Make the Vinaigrette

Place all ingredients, except the olive oil, into a blender. Blend to combine, slowly adding 1 cup olive oil.

To Serve

Lightly dress the vegetables and greens with the vinaigrette and divide onto 4 plates. Arrange a piece of tuna and 3 egg quarters on top of the vegetables. Serve immediately.


  • 1 pound albacore tuna, cold-smoked
  • 2 bunches baby golden beets
  • ¼ pound green beans
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 4 ounces mixed baby greens
  • 12 fingerling potatoes
  • 4 sprigs thyme, leaves removed, stem discarded
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoons anchovy
  • 2 sprigs oregano, leaves removed, stem discarded
  • 2 sprigs thyme, leaves removed, stem discarded
  • ¼ cup Kalamata olives with brine
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup olive oil
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