One Sunday a month I gather with friends for a themed dinner. Each person provides a dish or two to accompany the Sunday Supper (as we call it) theme. As a farmers’ market manager that typically means I’m in charge of a vegetable side dish or two.
Recently, the hosts made bacon wrapped scallops with the most divine garlic butter sauce, and mussels steamed in white wine and garlic for a shellfish-themed Sunday Supper.
I decided to accompany the shellfish with a large salad of vegetables. And it being July, I thought it appropriate to honor Bastille Day, the French national holiday celebrated July 14, with Salad Niçoise. Bonus: I found every produce item needed for this salad at a local farmers’ market.
Salad Niçoise gets its name from its staple ingredient, Niçoise olives, grown primarily in the south of France near Nice.
There are many versions of Salad Niçoise. Some are more traditional than others, but my favorite includes potatoes, green beans, olives, hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes and tuna, fresh or canned.
For a more regionally suitable fish I sometimes use smoked trout. I serve this composed salad — one that’s arranged aesthetically instead of tossed — over a bed of whatever salad greens are available at market.
Serve with a crisp French Rosé and Bon Appetit!Salad Niçoise Serves 4 as entrée and 6 as side 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes 1/2 pound green beans, trimmed Salad greens, including frisée 8 ounces smoked trout 4 eggs, hard-boiled and quartered 1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved 1 cucumber, diced 1/3 cup Niçoise olives Extra-virgin olive oil Vinegar Dijon mustard Fresh, chopped herbs such as thyme and oregano
Boil potatoes until easily pierced with a fork. Let cool and quarter. Blanch green beans in boiling water for two minutes. Plunge immediately in ice water to stop the cooking, drain and pat dry with paper towel.
Arrange lettuce on large platter and scatter frisée on top. Arrange trout, eggs, potatoes, tomatoes, cucumber, green beans and olives in separate mounds atop the salad greens.
Drizzle salad with a vinaigrette of two parts extra-virgin olive oil, two parts vinegar, one part Dijon mustard and fresh, chopped herbs such as thyme and oregano.
It’s also easy to prepare this salad in advance. Just boil the potatoes and eggs, clean and tear the lettuce by hand to avoid wilting, prep the dressing, half the tomatoes, and blanch the green beans ahead of time. Arrange, dress and serve the salad immediately.
Raised by generations of cooks, farmers and green thumbs, Andrea Shores is an enthusiastic eater and curious cook. She loves sharing her passion for local food by telling farmers’ and food purveyors’ stories.