Nicoise Salad is one of my favorites. And even though it's a salad, the husband declared that it's hearty enough to qualify as hot dinner. There is just so much going on...protein (salmon! eggs!), carbs (potatoes!), veggies (lettuce! green beans! tomatoes!), and...this is where I swoon...briny olives.
Another bonus about Nicoise Salad is that you can prep it ahead of time. Do you work 9 to 5? Well, get the ingredients ready on Sunday afternoon, and you'll have a weekday meal waiting in the fridge. Do you stay home with your little ones? Take advantage of nap time. Or Dora the Explorer time. Whatever works.
Now let's make dinner.
Adapted from Everyday Food and America's Test Kitchen
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 heads Bibb* lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
3-4 medium red potatoes, cut into 1" pieces
8 ounces green beans (about two large handfuls), ends trimmed
2 8-ounce salmon fillets
4 hard-boiled** eggs, peeled and quartered
2 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges (I like vine-ripened tomatoes.)
1/4 cup Nicoise or kalamata olives, roughly chopped
Combine lemon juice, mustard, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste in a small jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake until the dressing comes together as a smooth mixture. Set aside until you're ready to use it.
Place potatoes in a pot and cover with 1" of cold water. Add 1 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Allow potatoes to boil until they are tender when pierced with a knife, about 10 minutes. Remove potatoes and refrigerate until cooled.
Bring the same pot of water to a boil again and add green beans. Allow them to cook until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Drain and refrigerate until cooled.
Season salmon generously with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add salmon and cook until it flakes easily with a fork, about 3-4 minutes on each side. (Allow salmon to cool or you can serve it warm. I sort of like the warm salmon on the cold salad. But do as you please.)
Evenly divide lettuce, potatoes, green beans, salmon, eggs, tomatoes, and olives between four plates. Shake dressing again to make sure it's combined, and drizzle over salad. Sprinkle with additional salt and pepper to taste.
*I used Romaine lettuce because I happened to have that on hand. Romaine worked fine, but I really do prefer Bibb lettuce in Nicoise Salad.
**Here's how I make hard-boiled eggs: Place eggs in a medium saucepan. Cover with about 1" of cold water. Bring water to a boil, cover saucepan, and turn off the heat. Allow eggs to sit, covered, for 10-12 minutes. Drain the eggs, rinse under cold water, and allow to cool until you're ready to peel and use them.