Nothing says summer quite like a delicious Salade Niçoise. But veggie? White beans seasoned with lemon and Herbs de Provence will make you think you’ve landed in France!
On warm summer days like these, I like to imagine myself sitting in a lush vineyard sipping a glass of cold rosé or under an umbrella by the breezy blue-green sea. Then I get hungry. Filled with so many flavors, Salade Niçoise is perfect for this daydream…
3 persian or seedless cucumbers, thinly sliced
3 radishes, thinly sliced
12 cherry or 6 Campari-style tomatoes, halved or quartered
1-2 ounces salad greens, for garnish
4 eggs, hard boiled and quartered
1 pound small red bliss or new potatoes, boiled until tender
1/2 pound green beans or haricot vert, blanched
14 ounces (1 can) white northern beans, drained and marinated
1/2 cup Niçoise olives
1 TBSP capers
Drain and rinse the beans and place in a bowl. Add about two tablespoons of fresh lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil. Season with a touch of salt and pepper and Herbs de Provence. (Note: If you don’t have Herbs de Provence on hand, fresh or dried thyme would be fine here.) Mix and let sit to marinate while preparing the rest of the salad.
Prepare the cooked items next: Set the four eggs in cold water and bring to a boil. Shut off the heat and cover and set the timer for 10 minutes. Prepare a bowl of cold water for after they have been rinsed and set in the refrigerator.
Clean and prepare the potatoes and set in cold water to boil until tender. (Note: Always put potatoes in cold water or they may come out mealy.) Check with a knife and drain and rinse. Place them in another bowl and set in the refrigerator to cool. (Note: Depending on the size of the potatoes, cutting in half or quartering may be best. If using a larger potato, dice or cut to a small size. Cutting before boiling will take less cooking time!)
Prepare a bowl of ice water to place the beans in after cooking. Clean the green beans (Note: If using regular green beans and not haricot vert, choose slim beans.) and trim the ends as needed. Bring a shallow pan of water to boil and add the beans. Blanch for just a few minutes, again, until just tender and place in the ice water to stop the cooking and retain the bright green color.
Wash and peel the cucumbers and radishes and using a mandolin, slice thinly. (Note: A mandolin will guarantee perfectly sized and sliced veggies every time! Watch the video in the link to see how it works.)
Wash and quarter the tomatoes. Small tomatoes like cherry or Campari work best for this recipe. Cherry tomatoes can be easily halved and Campari are available year round. Late summer will yield some fabulous garden tomatoes so go with what is freshest and best!
Peel and cut the eggs in halves or quarters, you decide. (Note: this can be made completely vegan by eliminating the eggs.)
2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
2 TBSP tarragon vinegar
1 TBSP dijon mustard
1 small garlic clove, minced
pinch of salt and pepper
1 TSP Herbs de Provence or thyme
Prepare the dressing by starting with the lemon juice and vinegar in a small bowl. Add the mustard and mix together. Add the garlic and herbs (Note: Again, fresh or dried thyme could be used in place here. A microplane can also be used to mince the garlic clove – it’s faster and easier.) and mix. Begin whisking in the olive oil very slowly until it begins to emulsify, about one quarter cup. This should be to taste so if it is too tart or oily, adjust.
Assembly time! Using a large platter or wide shallow bowl, add some of the salad greens as a bed and begin to line up the ingredients. Now is the time to get creative: add the white beans, potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, green beans and the olives, those fancy namesake olives! Sprinkle the capers (Note: Capers add a bit of that salty, briny goodness that anchovies have without the fishy flavor.) over the top and add the dressing, bit by bit over the top. Take a picture, because it’s so pretty. Now, sit back and enjoy!
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