Salad Niçoise

I have been sharing a lot of quick salad recipes on my instagram lately.  Cooler fall weather is a great time to transition from the last of summer’s harvest to the warming, hearty foods we crave when the cold settles in.   One of my favorite salads is the french Niçoise salad.  Created in Nice, France, this salad has been adapted all over the world.  Rumor has it that the combination of ingredients was originally made for fisherman returning from sea, traditionally holding a few simple and hearty ingredients-tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, niçoise olives, anchovies or tuna dressed in olive oil.

Today, the salad has morphed and I must say that I quite like the additions of lettuce, potatoes, and fresh veggies.  When I worked in a french café we served this salad and added capers and shaved parmesean-DELICIOUS!  There are a million variations floating around out in the world, but today I share the way we eat it at our house.
nicoise salad titleFirst, some ingredients (this is a loose recipe, so feel free to substitute or omit):

Lettuce/greens, any kind
Fresh tomatoes, any shape or size, chopped
Green beans or asparagus or even zucchini
Red onion, thinly sliced
Potatoes, any kind (I like fingerlings)
Capers + kalamata olives
Hard-boiled eggs, quartered (bring eggs in cold water to a boil, remove from heat after 1 minute.  Let them stand for 10 minutes, covered in the pot.  Then run under cold water and peel)
Canned albacore tuna or salmon, or freshly baked fish of any kind (or use garbanzos or               white beans for vegetarians)
Cheese, like good parmesean (NOT that stuff in a can) or feta or chèvre
Olive oil, sea salt + fresh garlic

For the dressing:

This can be as simple as drizzling your salad with olive oil and your favorite vinegar or lemon juice and a bit of sea salt.

It can also be as “complicated” as this:

Combine 1/2 cup of olive oil and 1/2 cup of apple cider or red wine vinegar in a jar.  Add approx. 1 TBS of dijon/spicy/brown mustard and 2 cloves of minced fresh garlic.  Place lid on jar and shake.  Add a sweetener of your choice (I like honey or pure maple syrup) to your desired liking and shake jar again.  Optional: add some red pepper flakes!

The “hardest” part of this salad is roasting the potatoes and asparagus/green beans.
potatoes and asparagusPre-heat oven to 400 degrees. (If you are making this for 1 or 2 people, I suggest using your toaster oven.) Simply wash the veggies (if you’re using big potatoes, cut them into bite-size chunks, and asparagus needs 2-3″ of the tough ends removed) and place them in a bowl.  Drizzle enough olive oil to slightly coat everything and add sea salt.  Crush about 6-10 cloves of garlic (depending on amount of veggies) and add to bowl.  Gently mix it up, then turn out onto a parchment paper-covered baking sheet (not necessary but it makes clean-up easy and cooks evenly without burning your veggies to the pan).  Roast approximately 25 minutes, or until your veggies are soft.  ** I love using baby purple potatoes, which are pictured on this post.  They cook quickly, are very tender and have more phytonutrients than any other color of potato! (That goes for any purple version of any veg)
Salad nicoise 3The hard part is over.

Place torn lettuce on the plate or in a bowl (I’ve seen really pretty versions on a platter for parties.  Take it the next level for your next gathering!).  Next, add your potatoes and roasted veggies.  Then add everything else: eggs, tuna, olives (cut in half to ensure no pits are present!), onions, a sprinkle of capers and cheese, 1/2 a can of tuna (for 1 serving) and tomatoes.  Drizzle with dressing and you are good to go!
Salad nicoise 1Wasn’t that too easy?  I love to boil 6-8 eggs at a time and roast (or you can steam) lots of veggies to have on hand.  Cooked quinoa, lentils or garbanzo beans would sub well for tuna in a vegetarian version; it’s still really hearty!  Play with flavors, play with veggies and HAVE FUN!

 

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