Will this perfect weather ever end?
Here on southern Vancouver Island we’ve had a stretch of beautiful summer weather. It’s warm enough to swim, but not hot enough to complain about. Days like this are what we dream of all year. Last night we sat on our deck well past sunset, enjoying good food, good wine and good friends . . . and no bugs! This is summer at its best.
Last week, while I was blogging about the fabulous Salade Niçoise that I devoured in Cannes, I was already thinking about how it could be adapted to make it more of a West Coast meal, using my garden vegetables and local seafood. Here is what I’ve come up with. I eliminated the eggs, substituted smoked salmon for tuna and capers for olives. I can grow or obtain all the ingredients close to home except the lemons and capers, (although I do have a Meyer lemon tree growing on my deck and homemade nasturtium seed capers could be substituted). The lemon is an important flavour component in this salad, so don’t leave it out. I made it once without, and we all agreed that adding lemon juice and zest greatly enhanced the flavour of the vegetables.
- 16 tiny red potatoes, scrubbed and halved
- 24 green beans, preferably thin haricots verts, trimmed and cut in half or thirds
- 8 cups mixed salad greens (lettuce, spinach, baby kale, arugula, etc.) washed and dried
- 1 small cucumber, halved, seeded and thinly sliced
- 24 small cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 8 ounces smoked salmon, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 small red onion, diced finely, or left in rings
- 2 sprigs fresh baby dill, finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp. capers
- 3 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice and zest of half a lemon
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Place a large bowl of ice water next to the stove. Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Place potatoes in a steamer basket over the boiling water, cover and steam until tender when pierced with a fork, probably no more than 10 minutes. Transfer the potatoes to the ice water. Add green beans to the steamer, cover and steam until tender-crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the green beans to the ice water. Transfer the potatoes and beans to a towel-lined baking sheet to drain.
- Meanwhile, whisk mayonnaise, vinegar, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the potatoes and green beans, cucumber and tomatoes, onions and capers. Toss gently to coat.
- Tear the salad greens into bite-sized pieces and arrange on 4 plates. Top with the vegetable mixture and the smoked salmon. Sprinkle with fresh dill and finely grated lemon zest. Serve.
If you want to make part of this salad ahead of time so you can be out enjoying summer time, you can cook and chill the potatoes and beans in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
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