Salmon Niçoise Salad with Basil Vinaigrette
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Salmon Niçoise Salad with Basil Vinaigrette — An ELEGANT French-inspired salad with juicy salmon, tender potatoes, soft-boiled eggs, crispy haricots verts, and more. And it’s all drizzled with a super FLAVORFUL fresh basil vinaigrette!! This BEAUTIFUL salad has something for everyone!!
What Is a Niçoise Salad?
Traditionally, it’s a French salad from the area of Nice, France; hence the name Niçoise.
There’s always potatoes, haricots verts (thin French green beans), and briney olives (or capers). I purposely left the olives off because I don’t have any olive fans in my family but they’re an easy addition if you’re an aficionado.
Traditional Niçoise salads tend to use tuna but I will always choose salmon over tuna, and that’s what I did here. It’s tender, flaky, and melts in your mouth.
Crunchy elements like cherry tomatoes, radishes, and English cucumbers tend to be juxtaposed with tender ones including these soft-boiled eggs.
How I love a super soft and almost runny center but if you don’t, rather than boiling for 7 minutes like I did, boil for up to 12 minutes if you want true hard-boiled eggs, and somewhere in between for more set centers, but not too firm.
Rather than making an anchovy-based dressing, which is traditional, I made my 30-second blender Basil Vinaigrette.
It’s light and fresh with tons of flavor from shallots and red wine vinegar, but it has sufficient olive oil to really cling to the fresh salad ingredients and give them an oilier and therefore more robust and satisfying mouthfeel. Let’s face it, oil makes things taste better.
I’ll be the first to admit that as “salads” go, this is as high maintenance as a salad gets. However, there’s no lettuce here.
I’d like to think of this “salad” more like a cheeseboard — a composition of ingredients that all work really well together and play off each other in the best possible way, but when you have lots of different ingredients with different cooking times and means, it can get a little fussier.
But by no means is it hard, it’s just a bit more time-consuming than a typical salad.
We’re still only talking about 45 minutes from start to finish because you can prep, arrange, cook, assemble, and so-forth. While one thing is going, and you can be working ahead on the other things and the next steps.
I encourage you to read ahead and look ahead in the recipe to avoid just standing around otherwise it will take you longer than 45 minutes. Embrace multi-tasking for this one.
For something that feeds 6 and that looks so beautiful, it’s totally worth it. It just tastes elegant and refined. Your guests will be so impressed. And in case anyone is gluten-free, the salad is naturally gluten-free.
Salmon Niçoise Salad Ingredients
For the salmon niçoise salad, I used:
- Skin-on salmon filet
- Olive oil
- Lemon juice
- Salt and pepper
- Soft-boiled eggs
- Baby red potatoes (Trader Joe’s)
- Haricos verts, aka thin French green beans (Trader Joe’s)
- Artichoke hearts (Trader Joe’s frozen that I allowed to come to room temp)
- English cucumber, sliced into thin rounds
- Cherry or grape tomatoes (I used Trader Joe’s mixture of red and yellow)
For the niçoise salad dressing, I used:
- Basil (Trader Joe’s)
- Olive Oil
- Red wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper
How to Make a Salmon Niçoise Salad
I’ve given very detailed instructions below on how to make this niçoise salad recipe, but here’s an overview:
- Season and bake the salmon just until done. Be careful not to over bake!
- While the salmon bakes, boil the eggs. Once done, remove from the pot.
- To the same water that the eggs boiled in, add the potatoes. Boil until fork tender.
- Once cooked, remove the potatoes from the water and add in the haricots verts and artichokes.
- Arrange the individual ingredients on a large serving platter.
- Drizzle with the niçoise salad dressing.
Can This Salad Be Made in Advance?
Imagine serving this at your next casual dinner party or casual get-together. Imagine having guests come over. Just that alone right now I would adore. But I would especially love to be a guest when this is brought out.
In my opinion, this salad can be served at room temp and doesn’t need to be served piping hot.
So if you spend the hour before your guests arrive making it, and putting the finishing touches on it when people are arriving and having their first glass of wine or cocktail, you can cocktail it up for about an hour before digging in.
I would cover it tightly with foil and don’t add the vinaigrette until the time of service.
Tips for the Best Niçoise Salad
As noted above, I took a generations-old salad and made it my own. The ingredients are flexible and feel free to make adaptations and substitutions based on your preferences.
Things like tuna rather than salmon, olives, capers, avocado, or red onions are all great additions.
Make the niçoise salad dressing with anchovies, whole-grain or Dijon mustard, garlic, and olive oil rather than the herby one I made.
This would be a great fridge produce drawer clean out salad, too. Use what you have on hand. Just sayin’.
- 1 1/2 pounds skin-on salmon filet
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 to 2 tablespoons honey
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 6 large eggs
- 1 1/2 pounds baby red potatoes
- 12 ounces haricots verts
- 12 ounces artichoke hearts (I used frozen that I allowed to come to room temp)
- 10 radishes
- 1 medium English cucumber, sliced into thin rounds
- 1 1/2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes (I used a mixture of red and yellow)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 ounces fresh basil leaves (about 2 cups loosely packed or about 2 large handfuls)
- about 1/3 cup olive oil
- half of 1 large shallot
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (apple cider or your favorite vinegar may be substituted)
- 1 tablespoon honey, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- splash water, optional see note below
- Preheat oven to 425F (use Convection if you have it) and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Add the salmon skin-side down, evenly drizzle with olive oil, lemon juice, honey, season with salt and pepper, and roll up the edges of the foil slightly to contain the liquid runoff.
- Bake for about 8 to 12 minutes, or until salmon is just cooked through; don't overcook. Exact baking time will depend on the thickness of salmon filet and personal preference for doneness.
- When salmon is as cooked as desired, place it on a large serving platter. While the salmon bakes, move onto the next step.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil, slowly and gently add the eggs with a slotted spoon, and boil for 7 minutes (for firmer-set yolks, boil up to 10 minutes; or boil for 11-12 minutes for true hard-boiled eggs), remove the eggs from the water, and immediately place them in a bath of ice water; set aside.
- Add the potatoes (whole) to the water and boil for about 15 minutes, or until the largest potatoes are fork tender, remove with a slotted spoon, halve or quarter the potatoes, and place them on the serving platter.
- Add the haricots verts and artichokes to the boiling water and cook for about 2 minutes, or until the haricot verts are as crisp-tender as desired. Plunge everything quickly in the same ice water bath that the eggs are in. Remove the haricots verts and artichokes with a slotted spoon and place on the serving platter.
- Add the radishes, cucumbers, and tomatoes to the serving platter.
- Peel the eggs, halve them, and place on the serving platter. As desired, salt and pepper the various salad ingredients, to taste; set aside and make the vinaigrette.
- To the canister of a high speed blender or food processor, add all ingredients (except water), and blend on high speed until smooth. Note – I used a Vita-Mix and the ingredients were just underneath the level of the blade so it was spinning around and not blending them so I added a splash of water just to bring everything up high enough to catch on the blade. I chose water rather than oil to save calories and fat but you could use more oil, or double the batch and add more basil, shallot, etc. Taste and make any necessary flavor adjustments (more salt, pepper, honey, etc.).
Storage: Salad is best fresh but ingredients (separated) in airtight containers will keep for up to 4 days. Vinaigrette will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days, noting it may darken as time passes due to the natural oxidation of basil.
Vinaigrette adapted from my Basil Vinaigrette.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 672Total Fat: 38gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 28gCholesterol: 257mgSodium: 685mgCarbohydrates: 47gFiber: 7gSugar: 17gProtein: 37g
More Healthy Salad Recipes:
Honey Lemon-Glazed Salmon Salad— Ready in 15 minutes and can easily be meal prepped. My whole family loves this recipe and said it’s their favorite salmon salad I’ve ever made!
30 Best Easy Healthy Salads — Looking for easy salad recipes that are both filling and flavorful? The 30 healthy salads on this list are the BEST salads you’ll ever eat!!
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