So, truth be told, when I traveled to Paris in 2001 I had not yet been introduced to the fabulous cuisine that is French food. I passed by countless individuals eating what I now know to be a nicoise salad in countless fabulous sidewalk cafes. However, I ate exactly zero nicoise salads while in France and approximately five McDonalds Happy Meals. Heart breaking! But, the good news is: I have since discovered and come to L-O-V-E nicoise salads. In southern California, they are most often served with seared ahi, which, while yummy, just isn't my favorite. So, when I saw a recipe in Sunset's May 2010 issue for a poached salmon nicoise, I knew I had to adapt it and incorporate it into my repertoire.
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp. herbs de provence
1 tsp. cracked black pepper
1 tsp. salt
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 lb. skin-on, wild salmon fillet (1 - 1.5" thick)
2 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp. dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. champagne vinegar (or substitute more red wine vinegar)
1/3 C. extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 Tbsp. chopped basil
1 bag mixed lettuce
2 hard-cooked eggs, cut into quarters
1/4 lb. haricot verts (French green beans) or regular green beans, trimmed and boiled until tender but crisp
1/4 C. cucumber, seeds scraped out with spoon, chopped
2 Tbsp. red onion minced
1/4 C. pitted nicoise or kalamata olives
To a large skillet, add bay leaves, herbs de provence, cracked pepper, salt and lemon. Lay salmon in skillet and add enough water to cover. Remove salmon, cover mixture and bring to a boil.
Reduce to a simmer. Add salmon, cover and simmer for 10 - 15 minutes until just cooked through.
While salmon is cooking, make dressing, cook green beans and chop red onion. For dressing, whisk together garlic, mustard, vinegar, olive oil, herbs and salt. For green beans, steam until tender but crisp or if using a microwavable bag, microwave for 2 minutes.
When cooked, remove salmon from liquid, place on a plate and chill in the refridgerator while preparing the rest of the meal.
Put salad mix on a platter, drizzle with dressing and mix to coat. Put haricot vert in a medium bowl and top with some dressing. Mix to coat and then place on platter. Put cucumber in bowl, top with some dressing, mix to coat and then place on platter. Remove salmon from fridge. Pull off salmon skin and place large chunks of salmon on platter. Place eggs quarters and olives on platter. Sprinkle chopped onion over salad. Drizzle remaining dressing over salad.