This fancy recipe is rich in nutrients and full of flavor!
Our Salad Nicoise with Poached Salmon is the perfect entree for date night or lunch with a friend. Because this composed salad is packed with protein, both men and women love it. Although a dish like this requires boiling, blanching, and poaching, you will appreciate its simplicity. The eggs, potatoes and green beans don’t require warming, so these are steps you can do ahead of time. We dress our take on this dish from Nice, France with balsamic vinaigrette. Instead of the typical mustard based vinaigrettes you will find in Provence, we went with a slightly sweeter dressing. We also replaced canned tuna and/or sardines with a nice fillet of salmon. This is actually something we’ve seen in bistros dotting seaside resort villages along the French Riviera.
The Perfect Composed Salad
Salad Nicoise (pronounced “nee-SWAZ”) with salmon was one of the most popular dishes in my restaurant. In fact, my cooks frequently bantered about whose salad was more beautiful and who made the creamiest dressing. A composed salad is, quite simply, a salad that’s presented with blocks of ingredients artfully arranged.
When everything comes together, this salad is easy to make and looks effortless. Just like a well-dressed French man or woman, this salad just seems to know what goes together. First, dress the greens lightly and then plate them. Picture this: an arc of sliced egg next to a row of tomatoes near a small pile of green beans neighboring a small pile of potatoes on a bed of greens. Then, an array of black olives sprinkled throughout with another circle of capers. Finally, the piéce de résistance, a beautiful piece of poached salmon. Drizzle the salad with the rest of your dressing and it’s ready!
Boil, Blanch, Poach
Now that you know what a Salad Nicoise looks like, it’s time to get down to brass tacks and figure out the steps involved. This is most definitely a time where any experience with a meal kit service comes in handy. With ingredients pre-cut and pre-measured, the first step in the instructions is to ready all the tools and ingredients in one place. That’s ”mise en place”, which means “for best success, get your stuff together all in one spot”. Recipe writers, chefs, and cooks across the globe respect this phrase in cooking above all others.
Before you can assemble all the ingredients for this Salad Nicoise, accept the few steps necessary to get there. First, the dressing. We’ve made it easy by listing whole ingredients you just throw in the blender or whisk. Next, boil the potatoes. Included in the instructions are microwave directions so you can move on to hard boiling your eggs and blanching the green beans. Because of the trials and errors I myself experienced with hard-boiling eggs, this guide to learn to cook eggs is very useful.
Ultimately, the Salad Nicoise calls for a medium boiled egg. This means the yolk has set but is not fully cooked. That’s entirely up to you, though! Feel free to cook all the way through if you like.
Blanch the Beans
The optional step of blanching beans makes for crisper color and flavor. As stated in the instructions, you can reuse the water for boiling your eggs by removing your eggs with a slotted spoon and rinsing them in cool water before peeling. By briefly cooking vegetables in boiling water, greens deepen in color. While what once looked limp and ready to compost now stands erect and ready for crunch. Although I mentioned that cucumbers may be used instead of green beans in the recipe card, green beans are preferred.
Poach the Salmon
Poaching salmon is super easy. Just bring a cup of wine and water to boil, drop in the salmon, reduce the heat to simmer and cover for ten minutes. While the salmon poaches, use this time to assemble the rest of the salad, so at the last minute when the salmon has cooked through, you can gently place it on your plates. Even if this is your first time ever doing this, you will look so capable during this last step. Your company will love the presentation, the protein, and your panache! Bon Appétit!
Salad Nicoise with Poached Salmon
- 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 pinch pepper
- 2 Yukon gold potatoes
- 2 eggs
- 4 ounces green beans fresh
- 1/2 cup grape tomatoes halved
- 1/4 cup black olives
- 1 tablespoon capers
- 8 oz salmon fillets 2 (4 oz.) fillets, skinless
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup water
- 3 garlic cloves smashed
- Make dressing by blitzing all ingredients in a blender or whisking together.
- Boil potatoes until they are fork tender, around twenty five minutes. Alternatively you can microwave halved potatoes in a water bath for 15 minutes. Slice cooled potatoes thinly. Halve them into half moons if the slices are too large.
- Prepare hard boiled eggs. If you want medium boiled eggs, then add eggs carefully to boiling water and cook for seven minutes. Hard boiled eggs need thirteen minutes. If using green beans, don't throw out the water, and just gently spoon out the eggs. Rinse them in cold water and peel eggs.
- If using green beans, you can reuse your boiling water. Just drop the beans in and watch them turn green after a minute or two. Add ice to a colander, drain the beans and swish them with the ice until they cool down. Set beans next to eggs and potatoes.
- Season salmon on both sides with salt and pepper. In a shallow pan over medium heat, bring wine, water, and cloves to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Add salmon fillets and cover pan for ten minutes. Assemble plates while salmon cooks.
- Dress lettuce in a medium sized bowl with two teaspoons of vinaigrette. Make sure the leaves are evenly coated and divide lettuce onto two serving plates. Arrange potatoes in a neat little row, followed by the egg, green beans, and tomatoes. Then, evenly distribute the olives and capers. When salmon has finished poaching, carefully place it in off to the side or in the center, wherever you have made room for it.
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