Voila Salade A La Nicoise
By Nancy Eisman
In the midst of a summer bookended by major American holidays, Bastille Day is celebrated by the people of France and Francophiles everywhere, commemorating French unity and the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille.
“A la nicoise” is a phrase meaning “as prepared in Nice”, a city on the French Riviera where coastal cuisine gets inspiration from the Mediterranean sea. The traditional preparation of a salade Nicoise features tuna, but an easy plant-based hack takes its place with plenty of panache. Other de rigueur (standard) ingredients include tomatoes, briny (Nicoise) black olives, green beans, onions (which I replace with shallots), and some tender, steamed peewee potatoes. Capers, dill, fresh lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, Dijon mustard, and champagne vinegar lift all the flavors and bring the salad together.
Present on a bed of kale and quinoa (totally untraditional) for more textures and protein, bringing the salade a la Nicoise to the table in a composed layout (each ingredient arranged separately), and then toss everything together for maximum deliciousness prior to serving.
Kale & Quinoa Nicoise Salad
1 bunch kale, leaves removed from stems and torn into small pieces
½ chub Melissa’s Cooked Quinoa, broken apart with a fork
Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 package Melissa’s Peeled and Steamed Chick Peas, fork flaked
1 shallot, minced
¼ cup capers
1 tablespoon fresh dill
1 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 ½ cups Melissa’s Baby Dutch Yellow® Peewee Potatoes, steamed
2 cups green beans, steamed
1 package Melissa’s Baby Heirloom Tomatoes
½ cup Nicoise or kalamata olives
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/3 cup champagne or white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh tarragon (or ½ teaspoon dried)
Pinch of sugar
Pinch of salt
Pinch of black pepper
In a large bowl, mix the kale, quinoa, lemon juice and salt together and set aside for at least 30 minutes to allow the kale to soften.
To make the dressing, mix the extra virgin olive oil, Dijon mustard, vinegar, tarragon, sugar, salt and pepper together and whisk to emulsify. Adjust seasonings and set aside.
For the tuna hack, combine the flaked chick peas, shallots, capers, dill, and extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
On a serving platter or shallow bowl, cover the bottom with the kale and quinoa mixture. Next, visually divide the platter in 4 sections, placing the potatoes, green beans, tomatoes, and chick pea mixture in each one. Pile the olives in the center. Pour the dressing over the salad and bring the platter to the table. Toss the salad and serve.