My mom introduced me to the traditional Niçoise salad when she visited me in college and we went to Saint Honore Bakery – I fell in love immediately. It’s the perfect entree salad: fresh, flavorful, hearty, and beautiful. I’ve had dozens of Niçoise salads over the years, and many of them with my mom. Just last week she made an amazing version with crab cakes on top and we savored them over the “impassioned” season finale of the Bachelorette. Yum. (and go Team Chris/Seattle!) Although I’m still intimidated to cook for my mom (she’s literally the best cook I know and I’m not just saying that- ask anyone), I might just work up the courage to make my own version for her on our next French-inspired girls night.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the traditional Niçoise salad, these are the typical ingredients: tuna, potatoes, anchovies, egg, green beans, olives, and tomatoes with a lemony dressing. The traditional version of this salad was the first time I tried something with tuna and liked it, probably because it’s not typically tuna from the can. But still, I much prefer any kind of fish besides tuna and anchovies. Being a Seattle native I am obviously pretty passionate about salmon (and especially eating it). I’m pretty sure I eat some form of salmon (cooked, smoked, sushi) way more than is healthy but you can’t win them all. So as you can guess, I wanted to make a Niçoise salad that included salmon. When I decided on this I immediately thought of one of my favorite brunch foods- bagels with cream cheese, lox, red onions, and lox. So why not combine two of my favorite meals into one?
I combined my favorite ingredients of the Nicoise with my favorite smoked salmon combo, and then added in a couple of extra twists with homemade pickled red onions and herbed vinaigrette over a bed of mixed greens. This salad is designed as an entire meal and should serve 4 people for lunch or dinner. The most important part is to plate each one individually to keep the lovely French presentation! Red wine not included here but entirely endorsed.
The pickled onions can be made a day or two ahead for full flavor, but can also be made just an hour ahead of serving time. It is super easy to adjust quantities in this recipe since each plate is assembled individually. I almost didn’t want to post quantities for this recipe because everyone has different preferences, but I also know it’s nice to just follow recipe directions exactly sometimes, so go right ahead! Bon Appetite.
- 8 oz smoked salmon
- 8 cups mixed greens
- 12 oz heirloom potatoes
- 1/2 lb green beans, trimmed
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup Niçoise olives
- 1/4 cup capers
- 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tsp mustard
- 1/2 tsp dried herbs de provence
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- Combine apple cider vinegar, sugar, salt, and 1 cup water in a bowl and mix well. Pour over sliced onions in a jar and let sit at room temperature for an hour, or overnight in the refrigerator.
- Combine all dressing ingredients in a jar and stir well to combine. Put lid on jar and set aside.
- Bring a medium sized pot of salted water to a boil and add potatoes. Cook until barely soft, about 15 minutes.
- Remove potatoes from water with a slotted spoon, reserving the cooking water. Set aside and let cool.
- Pour out cooking water so there is only about an inch left. Bring water back to a boil and then put steamer basket with green beans over water and cover, letting the beans steam for about 5 minutes, or until just tender.
- Drain the beans and let cool slightly.
- Halve both the potatoes and beans and toss with 1-2 tbsp of dressing. Set aside.
- Toss mixed greens with 1 tbsp dressing (or less and add to taste). Place 2 cups on each of the 4 plates.
- Add the rest of the ingredients on top of the greens: potatoes, green beans, tomatoes, pickled onions, olives, capers and pieces of smoked salmon.
- If desired, pour a bit more dressing over the top and season with salt and pepper.