I LOVE Niçoise Salads (Salads Niçoise?)—a brilliant combination of lettuce, tomatoes, olives, canned tuna, eggs, green beans, and potatoes. I love the big blocks of color and all the different textures.
It’s everything I want in a big dinner salad: variety, a hardy protein of some kind, hard boiled eggs cooked until the yolks are just cooked through, and a fancy schmancy French appellation.
I made this “Warm Salmon Salad Niçoise” version of a traditional Niçoise a couple weeks ago on a whim. I didn’t have olives on hand, hence the capers doing a pretty good stand-in job in the dressing.
The asparagus happened to look a lot better than the green beans at the market that week. And we ran out of our latest stash of canned tuna, but we did have a really beautiful salmon fillet in the fridge.
Though there are a few steps to this, they’re all really simple to do. With lots of herbs, warm, crispy seared salmon, and a tangy herbed lemon caper vinaigrette, you just can’t beat this for a healthy, satisfying dinner.
But now I’m descending into Rachel Ray speak. I’ll spare you all my pent-up “Yum-o’s,” “EVOO’s,” and references to my Gran’pa Emmanuel and how he never chopped basil. …You’re welcome.
Just make it!
Start by making the dressing. Combine all dressing ingredients in a bowl…
And mix it all together.
In a small pot, cover the eggs completely with cold water.
Bring to a boil. Once it’s boiling, remove the pot from the heat. Allow the eggs to sit in the hot water for five minutes, and immediately transfer the eggs to a bowl of ice water. Set aside.
Boil the potatoes until fork tender and sauté the asparagus in some oil with salt and pepper until tender but still a bit crisp.
Set the potatoes aside along with the asparagus.
While all that’s going, season your salmon with salt and pepper. In a cast iron pan or skillet, heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat. Add the salmon and get a good crispy texture on both sides. Lower the heat and continue to cook, covered, until just cooked through. Flaky, juicy, and positively oozing with Omega-fatty-goodness are the attributes we’re looking for here.
Peel your eggs and cut them in half. To assemble the salad, add a bed of lettuce to your plate. In big blocks of color, lay the tomato wedges…
…and the potatoes, asparagus, eggs, and salmon on top of the salad.
Drizzle your dressing over the top and serve!
This is a knife and fork kind of salad. Real civilized-like.
And here’s a photo of it on a different plate! I couldn’t decide which one looked better. We ate both of them anyway, so I guess it doesn’t really matter.
Even if you just make the dressing and toss it with some baby greens, you’ll be happy as a clam. As happy as a bivalve mollusk can be, anyway. Enjoy it everyone!