This week I had the very happy experience of meeting two of my favorite bloggers, Susan and Dale of SCHNITZEL AND THE TROUT. Susan and I have been cyber friends since both of us started blogging back in 2008. Somehow we found each other among the millions of food blogs that are out there and have been exchanging comments and emails ever since. They are visiting the Pacific Northwest right now and I invited them to join me for lunch on Tuesday. What a pleasure it was to meet them! Not only do we share our love of blogging we also have traveled extensively in France and are in love with Paris and Provence. I wanted to prepare something special for our lunch so I went to the farmers’ market last Saturday and just wandered around looking for inspiration. I wanted to make something reminiscent of the beautiful salads in France and at the same time highlight the wonderful products at the farmers’ market…I decided on a Northwest version of Salad Nicoise.
The classic SALAD NICOISE is made with tuna, potatoes, tomatoes, olives, eggs, green beans. lettuce and a simple Dijon vinaigrette. Because of our love for all things French I knew this would be a good choice for lunch with Susan and Dale. I wanted it to represent the Pacific Northwest so I changed it up just a little bit. Tuna wasn’t available but I was able to buy a lovely piece of CHINOOK SALMON instead. The beauty of this salad is that all the ingredients can be prepared a day ahead and all you have to do is assemble everything on the plate just before you serve it. I marinated the salmon for 30 minutes and then baked it in a 500 degree oven for about 15 minutes. (The recipe below for the salmon marinade and vinaigrette are adaptations of Ina Garten’s recipes) The green beans were cooked until barely fork tender and placed in a zip lock bag with a tablespoon of dressing so they could soak up a little flavor. The eggs were cooked in simmering water for 7 minutes, then put into ice water until they were cool. Don’t overcook them. They are beautiful and much tastier when the yolks are just set.
In place of the new potatoes that are usually used in Salad Nicoise I substituted couscous. Cafe du Marche in Paris makes the best vegetable salad with couscous and I tried to duplicate the flavors. Chopped mint, minced shallots, and finely diced cucumber were added to cooked couscous along with a tablespoon or two of olive oil and champagne vinegar. We all thought it was delicious and a much more interesting choice than potatoes. A nice selection of olives came from Whole Foods. There were so many to choose from…you can’t go wrong with any combination.
Tuesday was a beautiful day…a little hot for me…but not for Susan and Dale who are used to Florida weather. We had a leisurely lunch on the patio and finished it with big slices of MARIONBERRY PIE topped with TILLAMOOK VANILLA ICE CREAM. I’ll be posting that recipe in the next few days. I wanted to give them a good selection of our wonderful Oregon products and the pie was the perfect end to our meal. I enjoyed our meeting so very much and hope to see my dear friends again very soon.
- 4 lemons, zested and juiced
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup champagne vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup good olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
- FOR THE MARINADE: whisk together the lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, mustard, garlic, 1 tablespoons salt and ½ tablespoon pepper in a small bowl and set aside.
- Place the salmon on a sheet pan that has been covered in aluminum foil, and drizzle the marinade over the salmon. Allow the salmon to sit for 15 minutes. Bake for 12-17 minutes until the salmon is barely done. Don't overcook.
- FOR THE VINAIGRETTE: Combine the vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to make an emulsion. Pass a little pitcher of dressing with the salads.
This post is linked to FOODIE FRIDAY at Rattlebridge Farm.