Nice was the best place that we visited in France many moons ago.
I loved it more than Paris. The mediterranean coast, beaches, little villages perched on edge of cliffs like eagles nest, the azure blue of the sea, balmy weather and not to mention the wonderful food. Italian infused French food with a hearty dose of fresh seasonal vegetables. Food really doesn’t get better than this.
For the 3 days that we spent in the southern France coastal town, we ate either on little sidewalk cafe’s or in Farmers market. Socca for breakfast, salads for lunch and pesto pizza or pesto with little clams for dinner. The fresh tasting pesto, olive oil and vegetables had us from the get go.
This is my attempt to make a Niçoise Salad inspired by the trip ages ago.
A little bit like American Chop salad, Niçoise Salad is made up of tomatoes, olives, hard-boiled eggs, fresh glanced vegetables ( like beans and Asparagus) , new potatoes and tuna. The dressing is simple french vinaigrette with olive oil, garlic and mustard. Instead of using tuna and anchovies as is traditional, I kept the salad vegetarian ( so my vegetarian mom could join in as well) and served it with tinfoil baked Salmon. Hands down the best way to cook Salmon; especially for a crowd.
The lemony Salmon paired well with the tangy Salad’s vinaigrette.
The salad though easy to prepare requires multiple steps for various ingredients, but is a stunner once done. Don’t be daunted as it is easy to get hang of it.Blanching the vegetables and boiling the eggs while the Salmon and potatoes bake make it faster to cook. Served family style on a platter, this is a beautiful salad that everyone can enjoy.
Try it with Spring beans, Asparagus, Fava beans this Spring to make the most of the primavera!
The colors of the salad and the taste are enough to put you into Spring mood 🙂
Salmon Niçoise Salad Recipe
For the Salmon
- 1 lb Salmon Fillet, with skin on.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon garlic finely diced
- 8 – 10 thin lemon slices
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro or parsley (optional)
For the Vinaigrette
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
- 1 teaspoon french stone ground mustard
- 1/2 tablespoon sherry vinaigrette
- Salt and Pepper to taste
For the Salad
- 1 Quart pot of water
- 1 bunch of Asparagus
- 1/2 bunch of French beans ( about 1/2 – 3/4 lb)
- 4 small red potatoes, halved (or quartered) and tossed in 1 teaspoon olive oil and salt and pepper ( to taste).
- 2 heads romaine lettuce, roughly chopped into bite sized pieces
- 1/2 cup olives
- 4 eggs hard-boiled, peeled and halved.
- 8- 10 baby tomatoes sliced in half
1. Wash the Salmon under cold water and pat dry. Rub olive oil on both sides of the fillet. Sprinkle garlic, salt and pepper on both sides and lightly rub them into the Fish filet.
2. Take a large enough aluminum foil (twice the size of the fish to create a pocket). Lay 4 – 5 lemon slices on the foil.
Layer the fish fillet on the lemon slices. Layer remaining lemon slices on top. Sprinkle cilantro (or parsley) on the lemon slices.
Set aside for 15 minutes to marinate.
3. Set the pot of water to boil. Pre-heat the oven to 400 F.
4. Make the vinaigrette by whisking all the ingredients listed together in a bowl till well mixed. Set aside.
5. When the oven is pre-heated, cover the salmon and potatoes loosely with foil. Crimp the edges to form a pocket. Bake the entire foil pocket for 30 – 35 minutes till the fish is cooked ( flakes easily when pierced with a fork).
6. In the meantime, set the pot of water to boil.
When the water boils, blanch french beans and then asparagus for a couple of minutes each till bright green and tender.
Remove each with tongs in a separate bowl and wash them with cold water to prevent further cooking of the vegetables.
- On a large platter, first layer the romaine lettuce.
- Then arrange the eggs, tomatoes, green beans, asparagus, olives and potatoes. Arrange Salmon on the platter along with lemon slices.
- Drizzle one tablespoon vinaigrette on the vegetables. Don’t toss. Serve remaining vinaigrette on the side in a bowl.
- Pass it along family style where everyone serves themselves with bit of veggies and the Salmon.
Enjoy the crisp vegetables , warm potatoes and flaky warm Salmon!