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Smoked Salmon Nicoise Salad

It’s the end of your summer and you’ve eaten salads 93 days in a row. Or maybe more.

But the garden is giving it’s final burst. And those green beans just won’t stop coming. The last of the cherry tomatoes are falling off the vine at your very touch and the potatoes are new, tender fleshed and barely the size of golf balls.

Clearly, this is that precious time when all of the circumstances point to one thing and one thing only: this composed salad from Nice (hence, Niçoise salad).

It is the answer to your salad fatigue and puts to best use those garden treasures we will not have in just a few weeks {sigh}.

Green beans for smoked salmon nicoise salad at lynnecurry.com.

For me, green beans are the biggie. There are many vegetables that you can pickle, freeze or otherwise preserve. But green beans are at their best when fresh picked.

The girls munch them by the dozen and I adore them blanched and tossed with pesto {you name it, cilantro pesto, basil pesto, garlic scape pesto, carrot top pesto–or any combination of them}.

And of course, I’ll be pickling all the green beans we cannot eat using our Aunt Lydia’s recipe–and this salad.

How to Blanch Green Beans

While you could use raw green beans, this cooking method, called blanching, brings out their best color and preserves their crunch. It also preserves their flavors.

It’s a great technique to master for all types of vegetables: for a veggie tray {especially broccoli and cauliflower}, for freezing {chard, peas and corn} and for salads like this nicoise.

There are just 4 steps:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. You want enough room for everything to float around and be exposed to the heat quickly.
  2. While the water comes to a boil, fill a large bowl or container with cold water chilled with a tray of ice cubes.
  3. Plunge the green beans into the water all at once. Cook for 3 minutes. You’ll notice that the beans become vibrant green. Note that the water may not return to a boil.
  4. Drain the beans and immediately plunge them into the ice water to shock them and stop the cooking process. Drain well before use or storage.

Composing a Niçoise salad

The best part about this and any composed salad, is that you simply assemble piles of a variety of ingredients over a bed of salad greens.

It’s not a recipe but a collection of items grouped on a plate, and everyone serves themselves a bit of this and that. The dressing is served on the side.

Smoked salmon nicoise salad at lynnecurry.com.

In the case of Niçoise, the salad includes:

  • ripe tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
  • boiled new potatoes
  • blanched green beans
  • hard boiled eggs
  • canned tuna but I used smoked salmon
  • capers
  • olives, if not the tiny Niçoise olive, then any you like
  • anchovies packed in oil but I skipped them
  • a mustardy, peppery vinaigrette

Exactly everything that is ready for this nicoise salad right now! I recommend it with a glass of rosé on the last warm day in the forecast with a good-bye kiss to summer.

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Smoked Salmon Nicoise Salad

The wonderful thing about this hearty supper salad is that all of the elements--the blanched green beans, boiled potatoes and hard-boiled eggs--can be prepared in advance. So, it's ideal for the hottest days of the year. 

Course Main Course, Salad
Cuisine French
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author Lynne Curry

Ingredients

  • 1 large head tender lettuce, torn into large pieces such as cut lettuce, butter, green or red leaf
  • 6-8 ounces smoked salmon
  • 1/2 pound fresh green beans, stemmed, blanched and chilled
  • 3/4 pound new potatoes, boiled, cooled and sliced in half
  • 1 cup nicoise olives or kalamatas
  • 2 medium beefsteak tomatoes, sliced into wedges
  • 2-4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and cut in half pastured
  • 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained

For the mustard vinaigrette:

  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • pinch fine sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Arrange the lettuce on a serving platter or plate. Place the salmon toward the center and arrange the green beans alongside. Then add the potatoes and tomato slices.

  2. Place the egg slices here and there and top the salmon with the capers. This salad can be prepared in advance and stored in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

  3. Make the dressing by combining the shallot, mustard, vinegar and oil in a jar with a lid. Shake vigorously, then add the salt and pepper. Use a lettuce leaf to taste the vinaigrette for salt. 

  4. To serve, shake the dressing well and serve along side the salad with a serving set to dish up the salad. Have each person serve themselves to compose their own nicoise salad to their liking.

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