This Mediterranean Salmon Dinner Is a Twist on a French Classic
Dinner salads are my favorite thing to eat on hot and sticky summer days — especially ones that lean on the abundance of colorful vegetables available right now. The one I’m sharing today is a twist on a classic Niçoise salad, the French salad that traditionally features tuna, jammy eggs, and an array of vegetables.
Here, baked salmon gets swapped in for the tuna (meaning, yes, you’ll have to briefly turn on the oven — but trust me when I say it’s worth it). Rich and flaky salmon works so well with the usual Niçoise salad suspects like green beans, radishes, and olives, resulting in a dish you’ll have on repeat all summer long.
A Tangy Vinaigrette That Doubles as a Marinade
What makes this salad so good is the super-flavorful salmon. Instead of just placing simply seasoned fillets on top of the salad, you’ll make extra of the garlic-Dijon vinaigrette and use it as a salmon marinade. This not only ensures that the fillets bake up extra moist, but they’ll also be given a boost of flavor. You can make the vinaigrette a couple of days ahead of time if needed, although it comes together so fast the foresight isn’t essential.
Summery Salmon Niçoise
- 1/4 cup
- 2 tablespoons
red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons
freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
- 1 clove
- 1 teaspoon
- 1/2 teaspoon
- 1/4 teaspoon
freshly ground black pepper
(6-ounce) skinless salmon fillets
- 4 ounces
green beans, end trimmed
medium head butter lettuce (about 1 pound), such as Boston or Bibb, leaves torn
medium bunch radishes, tops removed, radishes halved or quartered if large
medium English cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup
pitted kalamata olives, halved lengthwise
- 1/4 cup
loosely packed chopped fresh basil leaves
Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 425°F. Meanwhile, whisk the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, Dijon, salt, and pepper together in small bowl. Transfer 3 tablespoons of the vinaigrette to a baking dish just large enough to hold all the pieces of salmon in one layer. Add the salmon, turning them over gently a few times to evenly coat in the vinaigrette. Refrigerate.
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle boil, use a slotted spoon to carefully lower the eggs into the water, and cook for 6 1/2 minutes. Meanwhile, fill a medium bowl halfway with ice and water.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the eggs to the ice bath for a minute. Remove from the ice bath and set aside.
Return the water to a boil. Add a generous pinch of salt and the green beans. Cook until bright green and crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer with the slotted spoon to the ice bath for a minute. Remove from the ice bath to a towel-lined plate and set aside.
Roast the salmon until cooked through and easily flaked when poked gently with a fork, 8 to 12 minutes. An instant-read thermometer into the middle of the thickest fillet should register 120°F to 130°F for medium-rare, or 135°F to 145°F if you prefer it more well-done. Total roasting time will depend on the thickness of the salmon. Meanwhile, compose the salad.
Place the lettuce in a large bowl. Drizzle with half of the reserved vinaigrette and toss to coat. Divide among 4 plates or shallow bowls. Top with the green beans, radishes, and cucumbers. Peel and halve eggs and nestle them among the vegetables.
When the salmon is ready, place a fillet on each salad. Drizzle everything with the remaining vinaigrette, sprinkle with olives and basil, and serve.
Make ahead: The vinaigrette can be made a few days in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Let come to room temperature before serving.
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