Salade Nicoise is like a culinary escape to sunny southern France on a plate. It’s a show-stopping salad perfect for a spring or summer dinner!
The inspiration behind this recipe:
Something I enjoy doing with my crazy big cookbook collection is to grab a cookbook, open to a recipe and make it no matter what it is. I only redo “the grab” or open to a different page if the recipe has something my husband is allergic to (such as mushrooms) or if it’s something my husband and I simply won’t eat (like offal).
Jim Fobel’s Big Flavors, 400 Taste-Intensive Recipes for Everyday Cooking and Special Occasion Entertaining is my latest “grab” off the shelf.
Jim Fobel was the test kitchen director of Food and Wine magazine from 1979 to 1983. When he published this cookbook in 1995, he was a contributing editor for Cooking Light magazine. He wrote several other cookbooks including Jim Fobel’s Old-Fashioned Baking Book that won a James Beard award.
Jim Fobel’s Big Flavors, 400 Taste-Intensive Recipes for Everyday Cooking and Special Occasion Entertaining was one of the hottest-selling cookbooks at the time. It is still worth tracking down now. I found it in a used bookstore in great condition several years ago.
The recipe I opened to in Big Flavors was Salade Nicoise. Although I recall seeing this classic French composed main course salad on menus all over France, I had never ordered it there so I was anxious to make it.
What is in Salade Nicoise?
Salade Nicoise makes a real show-stopping summer lunch or light supper. It typically contains:
- Hard-cooked eggs
- Lots of vegetables such as fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, blanched green beans, boiled potatoes, radishes
- Fresh herbs such as basil and oregano
The salad is drizzled with a French-style vinaigrette and served cold or at room temperature with or without lettuce greens.
To put my own spin on this classic, I used fingerling potatoes roasted with olive oil, salt and black pepper. Instead of tuna, I used canned smoked trout. Salmon also works well in Salade Nicoise. Instead of radish, I used red onion. Salade Nicoise has numerous possibilities for variation!
Add a glass of rosé and you may feel as though you made a quick trip to the South of France! Enjoy!
More main course salads you’ll love:
- Blackened Chicken Caesar Salad with Sourdough Croutons
- Vietnamese Chicken Salad
- Sichuan Bang Bang Chicken
- French Lentil Salad
- Tunisian Salad Platter (or Assiette Tunisienne)
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- 3 large cloves garlic, minced or crushed through a garlic press
- 1 tablespoon anchovy paste
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (or to taste)
- ⅔ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- Cayenne pepper, to taste
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- ¾ pound small fingerling potatoes, halved
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 pound small green beans, stem ends trimmed and halved
- 1 large English cucumber, peeled if desired, sliced
- 4 large plum tomatoes, cut into wedges
- ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 sprig fresh basil or oregano (or a combination), thinly sliced
- 3 cans (3-4 ounces each) smoked trout in oil, drained and separated into chunks
- 4 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and quartered
- ½ cup Nicoise or Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
- 2 tablespoons capers, drained
- VINAIGRETTE: In a large bowl, mash the garlic, anchovy paste and mustard together to form a paste. Stir in the lemon juice.
- Slowly whisk in the olive oil in a slow, steady stream until creamy. Stir in the parsley and season to taste with salt, black pepper and cayenne. Refrigerate until needed.
- SALAD: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss halved potatoes with oil, salt and black pepper. Spread out on a baking sheet. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, or until tender and lightly browned, turning once or twice. Let cool slightly.
- While potatoes are roasting, bring a small pot of water to a boil. Generously salt the water and cook the green beans 2 to 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Alternately, steam the beans in a steamer over boiling water for 4 to 5 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain, cool and set aside.
- Mound the potatoes in the center of a large platter. Place green beans around potatoes.
- Arrange the remaining ingredients, except for herbs and capers, as desired.
- Sprinkle with capers and herbs.
- Drizzle with some of the vinaigrette. Serve the remaining vinaigrette on the side.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 569Total Fat: 45gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 36gCholesterol: 151mgSodium: 535mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 6gSugar: 9gProtein: 18g
The nutritional information above is computer-generated and only an estimate. Please do your own research with the products you're using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.