Salmon is one of the easiest “Super Foods” for me to incorporate into my diet. I love fish, but salmon is by far my favorite and my sister introduced me to my new favorite way of preparing it. Salad Niçoise is normally made using tuna, but my sister made it last week using salmon instead, and I knew I had to include it in this series. Salmon is generally cheaper than tuna, more readily available and can be cooked thoroughly without becoming tough (important when avoiding raw fish during pregnancy). It is also a wonderful source of protein and Omega-3 fatty acid, both important for developing fetuses. I always buy wild salmon as it generally contains fewer contaminants than farmed and has been shown to be a better source of Omega-3.
Besides the fish, the other important components of a Salad Niçoise include leafy greens, niçoise olives, hard boiled egg and a Dijon mustard vinaigrette. I have read that traditional Salad Niçoise did not include cooked vegetables but would often contain raw red peppers and artichoke hearts. However, the more modern, American interpretation most often includes boiled red potatoes and blanched green beans and this is the version I went with here. I chose to omit the hard boiled egg because, frankly, I haven’t been able to stomach eggs very well since becoming pregnant, but you can certainly boil and slice up an egg for some added protein! I love this combination of cool leafy greens, warm, firm potatoes and savory salmon, all topped with a tangy vinaigrette. This is one salad that is definitely filling enough for a hearty lunch or dinner and has loads of satisfying flavor.
Another (slightly less healthy) way to enjoy salmon is my recipe for homemade salmon cakes. Also, the poached salmon from that post is great served on it’s own or flaked over a light salad with lemon vinaigrette. Yumm!!
Salmon Salad Niçoise
Makes 2 large salads
1/4 pound new red potatoes, cut in 1-inch chunks
2 medium boneless skinless salmon fillets
1 Tablespoon olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
6 cups mixed salad greens, rinsed and spun or patted dry
1/2 cup niçoise olives
1 hard boiled egg, sliced (optional)
1 recipe Dijon Vinaigrette (recipe below)
1. Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil. Place the potato pieces in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Sprinkle in a couple pinches of kosher salt and bring to a boil over medium heat. Simmer potatoes for 10 to 15 minutes, or just until tender. Add the green beans to the small pot of water during the last 5 minutes of the potatoes cooking. Drain potatoes and beans and toss with a drizzle of olive oil and pinch of salt and pepper.
2. Meanwhile, heat a grill pan or medium skillet over medium-high heat. Rub the salmon fillets, on both sides, with olive oil, salt and pepper. Cook on the grill pan or skillet until just cooked through, about 4 minutes per side.
3. To arrange salad: Place 3 cups of salad greens on each plate, heaping them in the middle of the plate. Arrange a pile of potatoes, a pile of green beans and pile of olives and a few slices of hard boiled egg around the edge of the plate. Place one salmon fillet on top of the greens and drizzle the whole plate with 2 Tablespoons of Dijon Vinaigrette. Serve immediately!
2 Tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
5 Tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1. In a small bowl, whisk together the thyme, mustard and white wine vinegar. Drizzle the olive oil into the bowl, whisking constantly as you drizzle. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper, to taste. Keeps in the refrigerator for up to one week.