Salmon Nicoise Salad

Salmon Nicoise Salad- my take on a traditional French salad that includes roasted salmon, baby potatoes, and fresh green beans topped with a sweet mustard dressing.


November 18, 2020 by Nicole Collins


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Food is touching on my plate today.



And, that's kind of a big deal for me.


But I promise you, I'm ok. This is not one of those situations where I'm sending everyone a hidden message in this post to tell you that you need to come and rescue me.


I actually made my food touch on purpose!



I'm sure we've talked about this before, but I'm a “needs a kiddie plate with dividers at Thanksgiving” kind of gal. I've spent many hours in my life perfectly crafting full plates of food so that not one item on the plate touches another. It's really a sensitive topic for me.



I know it all goes does the same place. And, I know this seems irrational to many people. But, this is how I live my life, and I'm not ashamed of it.


Since I make the rules when it comes to the layout of my plate, I get to decide when things “belong” together. If I build a complete meal that's meant to be layered, then and only then is it ok for things to start touching. So basically, when I intend foods to touch from the very beginning, then it's ok. But, if they're meant to be prepared and eaten separately, that's a no go.



It doesn't need to make sense, but it is what it is. Thankfully, today's recipe falls in the “ok to touch” category. So, let's talk about all the things that get to be eaten together!


Today, we're making Salmon Nicoise Salad!



At it's core, there are a few main components that you almost always see in a nicoise salad: green beans, potatoes, egg, a simple protein, and a tangy vinaigrette. Nicoise salads are generally served deconstructed instead of tossed. There are a lot of different variations on this traditional French salad, and I'm super excited to be sharing my interpretation with you today!



Let's start with the greens. Unlike most salads, the greens are not the most important part of this dish. They're just a base vehicle to hold all of our amazing toppings. Spring salad mix is one of my favorite salad blends, so I love using that for this salad. But, some simple chopped romaine lettuce works great here too. We're going to serve this salad “platter style”, so spread out your greens all across your plate or platter, and we're ready to work on the rest of the components.



For our veggies, we're going to make sure we use the traditional potatoes and green beans in our salad. I like to use little baby potatoes for a couple of reasons: 1. they cook quickly, and 2. they're too darn cute. We're going to cook the potatoes first in some salted water until they're fork tender, then we'll use the same water to cook our green beans until they're slightly softened with some crunch. Talk about efficiency! We'll let the potatoes and beans dry and cool slightly before adding them to our salad platter, and then we'll divide them out on the platter along with some thinly sliced radishes and some halved grape tomatoes.



We're going to add two types of protein to this salad. Traditionally, nicoise salad is served with tuna. But, salmon is one of my all time favorite fishes, so we're using a nice roasted salmon in our salad. We're going to do a super fast marinade with half of our dressing to add some flavor to the salmon, pop it in the oven until it's nice and juicy, and that's that!



For our second protein, you'll often see hard boiled eggs in a nicoise salad. I love an egg in any shape, fashion, or form; but I REALLY love an egg with a nice and creamy yolk. So, we're going for more of a jammy egg in this salad. I love a jammy egg because you get the best of both worlds...a solid white with a slightly runny center. Ooo la la! If runny yolks don't do it for you, feel free to cook the egg a few minuted longer to solidify the yolk.



The final component to this salad is the dressing. I chose to make a sweet and tangy mustard dressing to top this salad as opposed to the standard vinaigrette that you'll often see with a nicoise salad. But, it blends up super quickly with a little olive oil, garlic, 2 types of mustards, some vinegar, and a little maple syrup. Like I mentioned earlier, the dressing does double duty as it acts as a quick marinade for our salmon AND the dressing for our salad. So, it has to have tons of flavor!



Once all of our components are assembled on our plate, we give everything a drizzle of dressing, a sprinkle of flaky salt, and a pinch of capers for a little extra pop. And let me tell you, nobody is walking away from this salad still hungry. Loaded salad doesn't even begin to describe it. It's loaded with flavors, it's loaded with textures, it's loaded with temperatures, and it's definitely loaded with complete and utter deliciousness. It's tangy and creamy and fresh and warm and comforting and everything you never knew you wanted from a salad. And overall, the ingredients are pretty humble!



I love it when ingredients marry together so perfectly that you completely forget that you don't like it when your food touches. That's real food magic, if you ask me!


I can't wait to hear what you think of my variation of this salad! Enjoy, and let's eat!






Salmon Nicoise Salad

Serves: 2          Print


Ingredients:

For the Sweet Mustard Dressing:

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • ¼ cup maple syrup

  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar

  • 2 tbsp dijon mustard

  • 1 tbsp stone ground mustard

  • 1 clove garlic, chopped

  • salt and pepper, to taste


For the Salad:

  • 2 6oz salmon filets

  • 8 oz baby potatoes

  • 1 tbsp salt

  • 4 oz green beans

  • 2 eggs

  • 2 cups spring salad mix or romaine lettuce, chopped

  • 1 cup tomatoes, halved

  • 1 radish, sliced

  • 2 tsp capers

  • flaky salt and pepper, to taste

  • olive oil cooking spray


Directions:

  1. Make the dressing: Add all ingredients for dressing to the bowl of a small food processor or blender. Process until fully combined, and the dressing is smooth. Set aside.

  2. Roast the Salmon: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and lightly spritz it with olive oil cooking spray. Season salmon with a pinch of salt and pepper. Take 2 tbsp of the dressing, and brush it all over the tops and sides of the salmon. Allow the salmon to sit for 10 minutes to quickly marinate. Bake the salmon for 18-20 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees. Allow salmon to rest for a few minutes, then break it apart with a fork. Set aside.

  3. Make the potatoes: Place potatoes in a large pot, and cover with cold water until the water is an inch above the potatoes. Add 1 tbsp salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, and boil potatoes for 14-16 mins until the potatoes are fork tender. Remove the potatoes from the pot, and transfer to a towel to dry completely. Do not discard the water.

  4. Make the green beans: To the same boiling water that cooked the potatoes, add green beans. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Remove green beans from the boiling water, and immediately transfer them to a bowl of ice water for 4-5 mins. Remove from ice bath, and dry green beans completely.

  5. Meanwhile, make the soft boiled eggs: Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Add both eggs, and boil for exactly 7 mins. Remove eggs from boiling water and place immediately in a bowl of ice water. After 2 mins when the eggs are cool enough to touch, carefully peel the eggs and cut them in quarters.

  6. Assemble the salad: Layer the lettuce over the bottom of each plate. Arrange salmon, potatoes, green beans, eggs, tomatoes, and radishes in individual sections over the lettuce. Top with capers and a sprinkle of flaky salt over each component. Drizzle with dressing. Serve!

Recipe notes:

*There are a lot of components to put together for this salad, but they can all be cooking at the same time. The potatoes, green beans, and eggs can all cook while the salmon is in the oven. So don't fret! This salad also does well served at room temp if your timing is a little off.

*Hard boiled eggs are traditional in a nicoise salad, but I like the creamy texture of the jammy egg in this salad. If you'd prefer a fully cooked yolk, cook the eggs for 10 mins.

*Since we're going to be shredding the salmon, you could use a bigger 12 oz filet as opposed to 2 6oz pieces. This is also a good time to use those ugly end pieces!

*I like to use Maldon flaky salt to finish this dish.

*The small food processor in the Ninja prep set is my all time go to for making dressings.




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