Roasted Niçoise Vegetables, Pan Roasted Salmon with Dijon Lemon Aïoli
Classic Salade Niçoise origin is in the Provence region of France. Niçoise means in the style of Nice, from the city of Nice. Generally it contains tomatoes, olives, potatoes, green beans, anchovies, canned tuna in olive oil and hard cooked eggs. Normally it is composed with each element plated separately on a bed of soft lettuce. It is one of my favorite go-to summer salads. Yesterday however I had the great fortune of finding whole Copper River salmon at my local Costco at a very reasonable price. Snatching it up I wondered how I would prepare it this time. Then I decided on roasting the vegetables and pan roasting the salmon serving it all drizzled with a lemon, Dijon aïoli as an entrée rather than a salad. Wow! I even garnished it with a fresh herb and lemon salt.
Roasting the vegetables rendered slightly crisp potatoes with jam-like tomatoes and olives. Each element was tossed about and came together stunningly. I may never make the classic version again. However I may not be so lucky to find reasonably priced Copper River salmon which melted in the mouth!
I do not make my aïoli with raw egg yolks. Instead I start with mayonnaise and slowly whip in the other ingredients. It is safer and can be saved for several days in the refrigerator.
4 entrée servings
2 tablespoons organic mayonnaise (Trader Joe’s)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon mashed garlic
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
12 fingerling or baby Yukon Gold potatoes, halved or quartered
¾ pound green beans trimmed
¼ cup shallots, peeled, sliced ¼ inch crosswise
12-16 mixed baby tomatoes (I use Costco’s Symphony tomato mix)
1 teaspoon capers, drained
12 Kalamata olives, pitted, halved lengthwise
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 ½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Pan Roasted Salmon
1 pounds salmon fillets (cut into 4 pieces)
sprinkling of sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon safflower oil
1 teaspoon Maldon sea salt flakes
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon fresh tarragon, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh parsley, chopped
1. Preheat oven to 375⁰F.
2. To make the aïoli whip the mayonnaise, mustard and garlic together in a mixing bowl. Slowly whip in the olive oil. Whip in the lemon juice. Taste, Think, Transform with sea salt if necessary. Set aside.
3. Toss the potatoes, green beans, shallots, tomatoes, capers and olives with the olive oil, salt and pepper.
4. Place the tossed vegetables on a Silpat or parchment paper onto a sheet pan. Place in the preheated oven. Roast for about twenty to twenty five minutes until the potatoes are soft when pierces with the tip of a knife. Taste, Think, Transform with the lemon juice and salt.
5. Meanwhile, sprinkle the salmon fillets with salt and pepper. Heat a cast iron or non-stick pan over medium high heat. When warm add the safflower oil. When the oil shimmers add the salmon flesh side down. Cover the pan and cook for two to three minutes. Turn over and cook for another minute. Do not overcook! Remove from pan and tent with foil to keep warm.
6. Place cold eggs in a pan covering over by an inch of cold water. Bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and let sit for precisely ten minutes. Do not cook a minute longer. Drain. Shake the pan to break the shells. Place in an ice water bath for five minutes. Roll the eggs to loosen the shell and peel. Slice the hard cooked eggs into quarters and reserve.
7. Toss the Maldon salt, lemon zest, tarragon and parsley together.
8. Distribute the roasted vegetables onto four plates. Top with the salmon. Place the egg wedges around. Drizzle with the aïoli. Sprinkle the herb and lemon zest salt over the top.
9. Serve at room temperature.