Inspired by the South of France, the combination of flavors in this Niçoise salad are amazing.
Prepare your mise en place by placing the potatoes into cold, salted water and bring to a simmer. While the potatoes cook, bring a second pot of cold water to a boil and clean the beans. Add the salt and cook the beans for about 5-7 minutes. Cool them in an ice bath; drain and set aside. Test the potatoes and once done, drain and set aside.
Thinly slice (émincé) the garlic and shallots and chop the chives. Chiffonade the basil. Wash and dry the greens. Cut or tear the larger pieces of lettuce and refrigerate until ready to use.
To make the vinaigrette, place the Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, and olive oil into a jar. Shake well and set aside.
To assemble the salad, first bring a pot of cold, salted water to a boil. Gently add the eggs, turn down the heat and let simmer for 8 minutes. Place them into an ice bath to cool.
Core the tomatoes and slice into wedges. Fan the tomatoes onto each plate and drizzle with a bit of the vinaigrette.
Cut the potatoes in half and peel the eggs; set both aside.
Before you start cooking, have your entire mise en place ready. Heat a large fry pan over medium-high heat. Season the top of the salmon with a bit of salt and pepper. Once the pan is hot, add the olive oil, followed by the salmon, presentation-side down. Season the other side. Turn the heat down to medium and let it cook for about 2 minutes, without touching it. Once it has a nice golden crust, flip it over and continue to cook for another 1-2 minutes.
Test the salmon for doneness and remove just before it’s done to your liking. Drizzle with a bit of the vinaigrette. Drain most of the oil from the pan, turn up the heat to medium-high, and cook the potatoes, cut side down. Once the potatoes are warmed through and lightly golden, turn them over. Add the beans and cook briefly. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and then add the shallots, garlic, olives, and the rest of the vinaigrette. Turn off the heat and gently toss to coat.
Add the basil and the warm vegetables to the greens and fold everything together. Cut the eggs in half and portion out the salad between the four plates. Add a piece of salmon and half an egg to each plate. Lastly, garnish with some of the chives et voila c’est toute. Bon appétit!
This basic vinaigrette can be stored in your fridge for weeks, so there’s no need to buy dressing anymore. Use it as a base to make different dressings throughout the week. Rather than adding to the batch, take some out as you need it. This way, the base dressing will last for months. Change up the flavors by adding things like garlic, herbs, or different seasonings. Have fun and experiment!
If you want to use a high-quality olive oil for cooking (to add flavor), but are concerned about the smoking point, try blending it with a less expensive neutral oil, such as grapeseed or safflower (1 part olive oil to 3 parts neutral oil).