Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Nicoise Salad With Grilled Salmon And Sherry Vinaigrette

Nicoise Salad With Grilled Salmon And Sherry Vinaigrette Recipe

If there is one thing I take seriously it is a Nicoise Salad. It's a favorite lunchtime order of mine when dining out in the spring and summer  months. So imagine my glee when I stepped foot in Nice several springs ago and simply couldn't wait to plunk down at the first quaint sidewalk cafe we could find so I could enjoy an authentic Nicoise Salad. When my salad arrived I was brimming with anticipation. And then astonished to discover that "authentic" means canned tuna and not the solid white albacore variety. Nope - it's the chunk light variety which I cannot eat.  The good news is that once I cast the tuna to the side of my plate, I enjoyed a very good Nicoise-Minus-Tuna-Salad. Let's face it, when you are in the beautiful French Riviera, everything is a pleasure.  But I must say the experience left such an indelible impression that I now always ask the question before ordering a Nicoise, "grilled or canned fish ?"  I guess I'm an Americano of origin and at heart because I only do Nicoise Salads with grilled fish.

This hearty {and heart-healthy} Nicoise salad features grilled salmon and it is basically Nancy Silverton's Tuna Nicoise Salad (*). There is so much I enjoy about her cooking and here she proves again 2 points: 1} she is not afraid of anything including seasoning, garlic and anchovies and 2} her technique for incorporating salad dressing always yields a most perfectly dressed salad. Here's to tweaking authenticity in pursuit of perfection.

Nicoise Salad With Grilled Salmon And Sherry Vinaigrette

12 to 13 oz baby potatoes
4 large eggs
kosher salt
1/4 lb French green beans
6 c arugula {or torn butter lettuce}
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
14 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
16 oz salmon
28 Nicoise olives
8 anchovy fillets, rinsed and patted dry
20 fresh chives
- and for the vinaigrette
3 T sherry vinegar
2 t minced garlic
2 t minced shallot
1/3 c + 1 T olive oil
1 t kosher salt
1/2 t freshly ground pepper

If you can multi-task, here is an opportunity to save some time. Simultaneously bring 3 medium size pots of salted water to a rolling boil. Gently drop eggs into 1 pot {one by one with a spoon} and immediately reduce heat to low. Simmer for 5 minutes and then transfer to an ice bath. Place the potatoes in another pot and boil until firm but tender when pierced with a fork, about 15 minutes. Drain and cool. Place the green beans in the remaining pot and cook until tender but crisp, about 2 minutes. Drain and place in an ice bath and drain again.

While the potatoes and eggs are cooking, make the vinaigrette by whisking together all of the vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl.

Cut the green beans into bite size pieces. Transfer the drained potatoes to the bowl of vinaigrette. Toss and set aside. Brush the salmon on both sides with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the salmon to your liking on an outdoor grill, an indoor grill or stove top in a grill pan. Remove from heat and break into pieces with a fork.

Divide arugula among 4 plates. Layer potatoes on top, leaving behind the vinaigrette in the bowl.  Add the tomatoes to the bowl of vinaigrette and toss. Layer the tomatoes on the salads.  Toss the green beans in the bowl of vinaigrette and toss. Layer the green beans on the salads. Scatter the salmon and then the olives over the salad. Peel the eggs and cut them in half. Place 2 egg halves in the center of each salad. Top each egg with an anchovy fillet. Using scissors, finely snip about 1 t of chives over each salad. Add a sprinkle of salt and drizzle with remaining vinaigrette.

Serves 4.

(*) I often substitute salmon, loaded with Omega-3's, in recipes that call for other fish fillets.  
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Source: Adapted from A Twist Of The Wrist, Nancy Silverton

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