Now that it's colder outside, we find ourselves gravitating toward heavier dishes at the end of the day. But it doesn't have to be this way. While many salads may not fill a cold-weather comfort-food void, there is one that can: the Niçoise. For this recipe, we gather the traditional ingredients for the salad with a few twists. The first and most important: We use canned wild Alaska salmon. It's a fresh take on a satisfying dish that will deliver healthy ingredients amidst a decadent holiday season.
Canned wild Alaska salmon is beautifully tender and flaky. It owes its fresh flavor and reddish hue to a natural diet enjoyed swimming wild in the icy North Pacific. When it comes to choosing canned fish, quality and nutrition are important factors that Alaska ensures. The wild Alaska salmon that comes from these cans is high in omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins and minerals to keep you going.
Reach for hearty salad greens when making this Niçoise, like mizuna and baby kale, which are widely available and filling. The addition of quinoa is non-traditional, of course, but the fiber-dense grain metabolizes slowly and can help keep you satisfied longer.
Follow the note to refrigerate, smash, and sear the potatoes into crisp and creamy disks. When they’re cool enough to handle, break them in large chunks to add chew, texture, and a bit more heft to your salad. If you can’t wait the extra day, cut them into quarters or crumble them into bite-sized chunks, instead. Dress all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl, gently toss to mix, and you’ll find that even salad can be for sweater weather, too.
Quinoa Niçoise Salad With Canned Wild Alaska Salmon
Yield: Serves 4
Active time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Total time: 2 hours
For the Vinaigrette:
1 small shallot, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
1 small clove garlic, minced (about 1/2 teaspoon)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
4 cured anchovy fillets, either oil-packed or fully cleaned and prepped salt-packed ones, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon water
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Salad:
1 pound small waxy potatoes, such as mini Yukon Golds (about 10)
1/2 medium onion, whole
2 sprigs fresh thyme
4 medium cloves garlic, whole
1/2 cup kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1 pound string beans, preferably French haricots verts, trimmed
2 large eggs, hard-boiled and cut into quarters
1/2 pound ripe tomatoes, preferably a small variety or cherry tomatoes, halved, quartered, or cut into wedges (depending on size)
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup water or vegetable broth
1 tall can (14.75 ounces) wild Alaska sockeye salmon
3/4 cup pitted small black olives, such as Niçoise or Taggiasca, drained
2 tablespoons brined capers, drained
10 torn fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons roughly chopped tarragon
1/4 cup fresh parsley, torn from stems
3 ounces (about 4 cups) lettuce greens, such as a good mesclun mix, baby kale, or mizuna
Freshly ground black pepper
1. For the Vinaigrette: Combine shallot, garlic, mustard, anchovies, vinegar, and water in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in olive oil. Alternatively, place all ingredients in a tightly sealing jar, seal, and shake vigorously until emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Vinaigrette will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
2. For the Salad: In a large saucepan, cover potatoes with at least 2 inches of water. Add onion, thyme, and garlic. Stir in 1/2 cup salt until dissolved. Set over medium-high heat and bring just to a simmer. Lower heat to just barely below a simmer and cook until potatoes are easily pierced by a fork, about 40 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand in cooking water until cooled slightly. Drain potatoes and remove used onion, thyme, and garlic. Set aside.
3. Rinse quinoa and add to a small pot with one cup water, bring to a rapid boil for 2 minutes and lower to a simmer over medium heat. Leave saucepan uncovered and gently simmer until water has been absorbed, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, cover with a lid and steam quinoa an additional 5 minutes. Fluff with fork, set aside, and allow to cool to room temp.
4. Meanwhile, fill a large saucepan with water and season generously with salt. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Bring saucepan of water to a boil. Working in small batches, cook beans until tender-crisp, about 3 minutes. Transfer to ice bath to chill. Drain beans and pat dry. Cut beans into 1 1/2-inch lengths and set aside.
5. In a large bowl, combine potatoes, green beans, tomatoes, wild Alaska canned salmon, olives, capers, basil, and lettuce greens. Shake or whisk vinaigrette, then drizzle a small amount over ingredients in bowl, tossing gently with clean hands and adding more vinaigrette as needed until everything is lightly coated. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer salad to serving bowls and garnish with eggs.