Nicoise salad is essentially the French version of the American cobb salad. Originally created in Nice, France, it boasts bright, fresh flavors. This version is kicked up with some less-traditional lacinato kale and oil-poached cod for a fancier take on what is classically made with canned tuna. Don’t be intimidated if you don’t know how to pronounce haricots vert. It’s just a fancy French word for a certain type of green bean.
1 pound potatoes, quartered Yukon or red preferred
1/2 lb haricots verts
2 cups kale, chopped (about 5 leaves)
4 large eggs
1/4 cup vinegar (cider, champagne or white wine)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup olive oil (for dressing)
3 to 4 cups olive oil (if poaching cod) OR 2 tablespoons (if roasting cod)
2 cups tomatoes, quartered
1/4 lb spinach, mixed greens, romaine or bibb lettuce
2 filets of Wild for Salmon cod (or 1 can of tuna)
1 lemon, sliced (for cod)
1/2 cup kalamata or nicoise olives (optional but recommended)
Make the dressing
We recommend making your dressing first so you can dress your potatoes a bit while they are warm (see tip below). Whisk the vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper (to taste) in a bowl. If you have Dijon mustard on hand, add 2 tablespoons to your dressing.
Cook the cod
We suggest two simple methods. If you have an excess of olive oil on hand and never tried oil-poached fish, we suggest going for it.
1. Olive oil poached: Preheat over to 250 degrees F. Place cod in small baking pan (you will cover the fish in oil so you want tall sides and not a wide bottom.) Cover the fish with oil. Place slices of 1 lemon and bake for about 30 minutes or until the fish is fully cooked. Remove fish, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside to cool.
2. Baked cod: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (note: warmer than the poaching option). Place fish on pan with the same ingredients as the poached cod, but instead of submerging in oil, simply drizzle 1 tablespoon over fish. Bake for 15 minutes or until fully cooked. Remove, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside to cool.
Cook the potatoes and haricots vert
Note: If you have a “spider,” which is a kitchen tool used for straining items out of water without pouring the entire pot into a strainer, you can make the green beans and potatoes in the same pot. If you don’t, then you will want to boil two pots of water.
Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil. Fill a separate bowl with salted ice water. Add the haricots vert to the boiling water; cook until crisp-tender and bright green, 2 to 4 minutes. Drain and immediately plunge into the ice water to cool; drain and pat dry. If using a spider, put out the green beans but leave the boiling water for the next step. If not, pour entire pot through a colander.
Place your potatoes in a pot of well-salted water and bring to a simmer. (Same pot as green beans if you reserved the water.) Cook until fork tender, about 15-20 minutes depending on potato size. Remove from heat and let cool. Optional pro tip: Right after you remove the potatoes from the water, toss in a 1/4 cup of the dressing. The potatoes soak up the flavor and this takes the dish to another level. After tossing, leave potatoes to cool as instructed above.
Hard boil 2-4 eggs: Use your preferred method. We place the eggs in a pot of cold water. Make sure the water covers the eggs. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then cover, remove from the heat and let stand, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain, then run under cold water to cool. Peel under cold running water.
Toss the chopped tomatoes in a small bowl with salt and pepper to taste. Add about 1/4 cup dressing to the potatoes and toss. Quarter the eggs.
To plate the salad, place lettuce of choice on the plate. Arrange the potatoes, haricots vert, eggs and cod on top. Pour any juices from the tomatoes into the dressing, then add the tomatoes to the plates. Drizzle with the dressing and top with the olives if you have them.