The classic Niçoise is an oily presentation, with canned or jarred tuna. I’ve made it this way, only to end up with a stomach ache. This version is lighter, because of the fish preparation. It works equally well with ahi tuna or fresh salmon fillets. Either are a lovely choice for your summer picnic. Invite friends. This is a quick and easy meal that keeps your kitchen time short, which is something we all value when there are better things to do than hover over a hot stove.
4 6 oz skinless salmon fillets (there are often pre-skinned options in the fish case at the grocery store, or ask your butcher to skin the fish for you.) If you opt for ahi tuna, see prep notes below.
1/2 lemon, sliced thinly
3 sprigs parsley
10 oz mixed salad greens
4 hard boiled eggs, peeled and quartered
1/2 c. kalamata olives, pitted
1 yellow pepper, thinly sliced
12 small new white potatoes
For fish preparation:
Salmon: Place salmon in shallow pan with lid. Add lemon slices, parsley and water to cover. Heat to boiling, reduce heat to low simmer and cover. Cook until salmon is opaque and flakes with fork. Remove from water and reserve.
If substituting Ahi Tuna: spray ridged skillet grill with cooking spray, or better yet, invest in a Mister which you can fill with your favorite brand of olive oil. At $9.99, it’s a great way to be able to know just what kind of oil you’re cooking with.
Heat skillet on high heat. Add tuna and sear 3 minutes on each side, for rare. Remove from skillet and reserve.
For beans: Place steamer basket in medium saucepan. Fill with water to cover about an inch of bottom of basket. Bring to boil over high heat. Add beans, cover and cook until beans are bright green, about 3 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Reserve.
For potatoes: Place potatoes in saucepan; cover with water. Bring to boil over high heat, covered, then uncover and reduce to simmer until potatoes are tender and can be pricked with a fork. Drain and rinse in cold water. Reserve.
For classic vinaigrette:
2/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
1/3 c. red wine vinegar
1 T dijon mustard
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper
Combine all ingredients together in bowl and whisk until emulsified. Or, if you’ve got a mason jar with a tight fitting lid, combine all ingredients, screw on lid tightly and shake vigorously. It’s a great, portable dressing container.
Assemble the salad:
Place lettuce on large plates. In separate sections on the perimeter, place beans, eggs, olives, pepper and potatoes. Top with salmon and drizzle vinaigrette over.
If you take this salad to a picnic, store each salad component separately in storage containers and assemble prior to serving. A nice textured bread and a crisp white Pinot Grigio is the perfect accompaniment.
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