I first discovered Nicoise salad in early college, when a food blogger I followed mentioned her very favorite Nicoise came from- of all places- the Nordstrom cafe. Of course, always a foodie at heart, I immediately asked my mom to come with me for a little girls date, where we sat and ate what is now my favorite salad to order- the Nicoise.
Nicoise salad is traditionally made with tuna or anchovies, tomatoes, olives, egg, green beans and white potatoes (typically fingerling). It originated, as the name suggests, from the Nicoise region of France as just anchovies, tomatoes and olive oil- simple and delicious. I love how satisfying the evolved version is, with ingredients that are both delicious and satiating- beyond your typical greens-and-veggies-type salad, into a full and satisfying meal. Of course, I’ve made tweaks to my own variation over the years- I’m sensitive to white potatoes, so I use Japanese (purple) sweet potatoes; a slightly less-sweet version of their cousin, garnet yams or jewel sweet potatoes, which you could certainly use- white sweet potatoes work as well- but I love the contrast between the slightly sweet potatoes, sweet and tangy salmon and the tangy shallot herb vinaigrette.
And can we talk about the salmon, for a second? This is one of my favorite simple ways to prepare salmon- you only need three ingredients (plus some salt) to make a delicious flaky salmon filet. The combination results in my go-to spring (or really anytime of the year!) full-meal salad. Let’s make it!
Honey Dijon Salmon: 2 5-6 oz salmon filets 2 tbsp grainy dijon mustard 2 tbsp honey
sea salt to taste
oil as needed
Nicoise Salad: 1 sweet potato or white potato, medium diced 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, sliced 1/4 cup kalamata olives, sliced 4 cups romaine lettuce 1 cup green beans, trimmed 2 hard cooked eggs
Shallot Herb Dressing: 1/3 cup olive or avocado oil 3 tbsp lemon juice or red wine vinegar 1 tbsp chopped shallot 1–2 tbsp chopped fresh basil 1 tsp fresh thyme 1 tsp dijon mustard 1 tsp honey
pinch sea salt
Preheat oven to 375. Season salmon well with sea salt.
Oil and heat a large cast iron or grill pan over medium high heat. Meanwhile, whisk honey and dijon together.
Sear salmon, skin side up until golden and about half cooked.
Turn salmon over, brush or spoon honey dijon over top.
Place salmon in oven (place on baking sheet if pan is not oven-safe) and cook for 6-8 minutes until just cooked through.
For potatoes: Preheat oven to 375. Toss diced potatoes with oil and a generous amount of sea salt. Spread evenly on a baking sheet (I prefer lining with parchment, first). Bake in oven 25-35 minutes, turning once, until crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
For green beans: Heat a large pot over water to boil. Salt generously and add green beans. Blanch for 3-4 minutes, until just bite-tender. Immediately rinse in water or dip in an ice bath to stop cooking. Drain well before adding to salad.
Toss greens in shallot vinaigrette.
Layer greens in the bottom of a deep bowl or plate. Top with dijon salmon, olives, tomatoes, egg, sweet potato and green beans.
Shallot Herb Vinaigrette:
Whisk all ingredients well and let sit for at least 10-15 minutes. Taste for seasoning, adding more lemon juice/vinegar for tartness, salt or honey to taste.
Love this recipe? Grab 30 of my family’s favorite balanced bowl combinations- complete with all of the bases, proteins, veggies and sauces we love (60+ recipes in all) and experience the magic of meals-in-a-bowl!