Smoked Salmon Nicoise Salad
Well, I started our first beautiful weekend in Vancouver with a bang by making a Nicoise salad with some personal variations. For starters, tuna is not cheap in Vancouver so I needed to be able to improvise with the fish. Hard core Nicoise connoisseur’s might not look too fondly at the loose interpretation I have given this salad but if I get alot of death threats I will consider a different name.
- 3/4 pound of nugget potatoes. Choose a variety if you want. Red ones look very pretty. Cut them in half.
- 1/2 pound of green beans, trimmed. I like to leave mine long but you can cut them into 11/2 -2 inch lengths if you want
- 1/2 pound of cherry tomatoes. Again, get some different colors. I would have if I had been able to find some.
- 1/2 a small red onion thinly sliced. I use my mandolins but a knife and some concentration will do.
- 1/2 medium fennel bulb, core it and thinly slice it.
- 2 cups of baby arugula
- A package of smoked salmon. If you are on a budget, then the BBQ salmon tips at the fish section of the grocery store will do.
For the vinaigrette:
- 6 tbs of olive oil
- 1/3 cup of kalamata olives pitted and minced. I bought them whole from the deli and cut them by hand. I am sure you could use and olive pitted but I found a pretty good system with a paring knife. I may explain later.
- 3 tbs of balsamic vinegar. If you use white balsamic it will keep the color of the vegetables rather than staining them with regular balsamic. But it really doesn’t matter. Just an aesthetic choice.
- 1 medium clove of garlic
- 1/2 tsp of grated lemon zest
- 1/8 tsp of crushed red pepper flakes * very optional
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Cover the potatoes in a pot with salted water. About 1 tbs. Bring to a boil then reduce to a medium gentle simmer until potatoes are just tender. Don’t over boil them or they will fall apart. Just keep poking them with a fork every so often.
- Take them out with a slotted spoon. Don’t dump out the water because you will next use it for the green beans.
- Whisk the vinaigrette and add 2 tbs to the cooked potatoes, let the potatoes come to room temperature.
- Bring the potato water back to a boil and add the green beans just to blanch them and turn them a magnificent green. 1-2 minutes. Plunge them into freezing cold water. If you have ice make a nice ice bath for them to stop the cooking. We want the green beans still crisp. Drain them and let them dry on a dish towel.
- When the potatoes have cooled add the green beans, tomato, onions, fennel, and all but 3 tbs of the vinaigrette. Toss well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the arugula and toss gently. Transfer to a platter and top with the smoked salmon. Drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette and serve.