My girlfriend and I had just returned from a weekend of eating pizza in New Haven, Connecticut, and, frankly, salad was the only option for our stomachs after days of cheese and grease. But we were hungry, too, and a pile of leaves wasn't going to cut it. More problematic was that cooking after a few hours of traveling was the last thing I wanted to do. The takeout menus beckoned.
But we had some mesclun greens around, as well as some cherry tomatoes. Taking inspiration from the classic Salad Niçoise, we looked in the freezer for some haricot verts, and a salmon fillet to replace the usual canned tuna.
We kept the Niçoise hard-boiled egg, but left out the olives. The dressing was my usual number with shallots and Dijon (the shallots "pickle" in the vinegar while everything else cooks, then get scattered over the salad later; it's delicious). I threw some parsley in the dressing to give it some herbiness. The leaves and beans were tossed with it, and the other ingredients laid nicely on top. There's just something about composed salads. When we ate it, we felt like we were sitting in Monaco with salty air whipping in our faces, which isn't bad for 10pm in wintry Brooklyn.
- For the salad
- 8 ounce salmon fillet, or one 7 ounce can
- Handful of haricot vert green beans, fresh or frozen
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 4 handfuls mesclun greens salad mix
- For the dressing
- 4 shallots, finely chopped
- White wine or champagne vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2-3 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Salt and pepper
In a small bowl, combine chopped shallots with the vinegar until just covered. Set aside.
Bring a small pot of water to boil, then cook the eggs, lowering them gently in, for 7-8 minutes. Remove and run under cold water until cool enough to peel.
Steam the green beans over a couple inches of water until just tender, then remove them with tongs to a bowl of ice water to shock. Add the salmon fillet and steam it until just opaque in the center. Alternatively, you can boil the beans and poach the salmon.
In the meantime, pour away 3 tablespoons of the vinegar from the shallots into a bowl to make the dressing. Add the Dijon, garlic, and a good pinch of salt. Add the oil in a very slow stream, whisking constantly. Taste occasionally for acidity, and stop adding the oil when the dressing is right. Add the parsley and stir well.
Toss the beans and mesclun greens with the dressing, then transfer to serving bowls. Slice the eggs and lay them on the greens, along with the tomatoes. Scatter the salmon over everything. Shower it all with black pepper. Serve while the salmon and eggs are still just warm.