Had it for the first time at my favorite Mpls restaurant Barbette several years ago. It's best with seared ahi tuna but my easy, cheap, quick version substitutes canned tuna in a pinch.
Also, I was out of any kind of olives today, which is kind of a big thing since the salad is named for the Nicoise olive and it really did taste like it was missing somthing. Oh well, it was still tasty. I love this salad so much because it's healthy but also hearty and pretty. If making it for a crowd, I'd put it in a huge salad bowl and arrange the toppings in concentric circles on the top. I've even heard that the classic recipe includes tomato which would also look pretty on here. And, I assume grilled chicken would be a good substitute if someone is anti-tuna.
Here's what I put in it:
boiled or roasted potatoes
1/2 can good quality tuna - or seared ahi tuna
1 sliced hard boiled egg
Nicoise or Kalamata olives
Salt and pepper
Dressing: tarragon vinegar, dijon mustard, honey, olive oil, salt and pepper