Salmon Niçoise Salad

Salmon Niçoise Salad
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Coral-hued baked salmon stands in for the traditional tuna in this olive-studded, vinaigrette-drizzled summery riff on the classic Niçoise salad.

Salmon Niçoise Salad

Mustardy vinaigrette, tender spring greens, briny capers and olives, the crunch of fresh green beans—Niçoise salad is a study in the beauty of contrasting textures and flavors.

Hailing from the town of Nice (hence “Niçoise”, pronounced nee-SWAZ and meaning “in the style of Nice”), this vegetable-loaded main-dish salad is perfectly evocative of the French Riviera—it sparkles with bright, sharp flavors and celebrates perfectly-prepared produce.

Salmon Niçoise: Summer On A Plate

Niçoise salad is at once filling and refreshing, and quite possibly the perfect sunny day dinner. We’ve swapped the traditional oil-packed tuna for salmon, because wild-caught salmon is a more sustainable choice and it’s also so, so pretty. Meaty, rosy-pink salmon against vibrant salad greens and bright yellow, jammy egg yolks—tucking into this salad in the sun-dappled light of a summer evening is just pure bliss. Here’s what you’ll need to make it:

  • A slab of good salmon. Wild salmon usually has a much meatier more satisfying flavor than farmed, but beyond that, you should just talk to your local fishmonger—or the person behind the fish counter at your favorite grocery store—about what’s good today! They’re often the best resource for ensuring that you get the best bang for your buck in terms of quality. And if you’re thirsting for more info about how to select salmon, this is also a great resource.
  • Fresh green beans. Coming into season in mid-spring, green beans are usually abundant at local farmers markets throughout late spring and early summer, but you can always find them at the grocery store, too. Look for thin, bright, beans and don’t forget to snip off the ends (a great job for tiny kitchen helpers!).
  • Olives! French Niçoise olives are the classic choice for this salad for obvious reasons, but you can also use kalamata olives, which are easier to find.  We like to buy the pitted kind for a salad like this.
  • Six-minute eggs. Six-minute eggs are perfect for this salmon Niçoise salad recipe. You want the yolk brilliantly yellow and tender, just-cooked and jammy.
  • Capers. Did everyone eat capers straight out of the jar as an after-school snack? Or was that just us? Salt-hounds of the world, unite!
  • Spring greens. Frisée is the classic Niçoise salad green, but we’ve opted for mixed spring greens here because it’s easier to find on an everyday basis. However, you can swap in almost any green that you’d like to! Mâche is lovely, as is butter lettuce, and romaine makes for a sturdier, crunchier salad if that’s more your speed.

The Best Ever Salmon Niçoise Salad Dressing

Repeat after us: homemade dressing is easy, and better (always!) than store-bought. Because it just really, really is. Plus, you’ve probably got all of these ingredients on-hand already! The bright zing of fresh lemon juice, a little mayo for creaminess, the sharp bite of stone-ground mustard—there is something so gloriously French about a great homemade vinaigrette. Here’s what you need to make this good-on-everything mustardy vinaigrette:

  • Good mayonnaise
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Stone-ground mustard
  • Dill (dried)
  • Kosher salt & pepper
Salmon Niçoise Salad

How To Make A Six-Minute Egg

Call them soft-boiled, call them jammy, call them not-quite-hard-boiled—whatever you call them, they’re delicious. Here’s how to make a perfect, six-minute egg:

  1. Bring a small pot of water to a boil over high heat.
  2. Once the water is at a good, rolling boil, carefully lower in your eggs.
  3. Start a timer for six minutes exactly, lowering the heat so the water is at a constant, gentle simmer so the eggs won't crack.
  4. After six minutes, remove the eggs from the water and dunk them into an ice bath to stop the cooking.
Salmon Niçoise Salad

Baked Salmon 101

When it comes to a cooking great piece of salmon, us Pacific Northwesterners know to keep it simple. Preheat your oven to 375, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper for easy clean up. Lay your salmon in the pan (skin side down) and slather the fish with half of your Niçoise dressing. Bake for ten minutes, or until the salmon is cooked through—the time can vary a bit depending on the thickness of the fish. You could also grill the fish, which would add a lovely smokey element to the salad—if it’s just too hot to think about turning on your oven.

Salmon Niçoise Salad

What To Serve With This Salmon Salade Niçoise

Loaded with protein and a rainbow of flavors, colors and textures, this salad is fully a meal unto itself. However, some really good bread—a baguette or maybe an olive-studded focaccia—and a bottle of chilled rosé would round out this salmon Niçoise salad into a true summertime feast.

Tools You’ll Need:

Salmon Niçoise Salad

Salad For Dinner, S’il Vous Plait

When it’s too hot to turn on the stove, but you’ve still got to fill those tummies.

Show Us Your Salad!

Snap a photo of your stunning, rainbow-on-a-platter salmon Niçoise salad and maybe even a video of the beautiful people you feed it to. Tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so we can celebrate your cooking victories!

Salmon Niçoise Salad

Serves 4

Dressing

½ cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup stone ground mustard
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tsp dried dill
¼ tsp black pepper
½ tsp ​ salt

Salad

1 lb salmon filet
1 jar capers, drained, rinsed, dried
3 tbsp olive oil
¼ lb green beans, trimmed
4 6 minute eggs (soft boiled), sliced in half
6 cups spring greens
1/2 cup Greek olives
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes

Method

  1. Heat oven to 375°F.
  2. In a small bowl (or jar with tight fitting lid) whisk the ingredients for the dressing, set aside.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, fry the capers until they burst open about 1 minute. Drain on a paper towel lined plate.
  4. Place the salmon (skin side down) on a parchment lined, rimmed baking sheet and slather it with 1/4 cup of dressing, set aside.
  5. Bring two small pots of water to a boil.
  6. Place the salmon in the oven for 15 minutes.
  7. Cook your 6 minute eggs in one pot of boiling water. If you need a tutorial, THIS POST is helpful!
  8. Blanch your green beans in the second pot of boiling water until tender but still have a crunch to them.
  9. When the salmon is cooked (flakes when separated with a fork) build your salads.
  10. Place the mixed greens on a large platter, topped with the salmon, the fried capers, the green beans, the six minute egg, the olives and tomatoes.
  11. Drizzle with the remaining dressing. Enjoy!