This Salmon Nicoise Salad is a fresh, beautiful salad that is perfect to serve up at your next homemade brunch!
For this salmon nicoise salad, I combined notes and (essentially) made my favorite version of this classic dish! We’re using the light butter lettuce as a base, boiled potatoes for starch, and asparagus and radishes for veggies. The protein is brought to us by an easy baked whole salmon filet (takes less than 15 minutes) and some gorgeous hard-boiled eggs. The dressing is an incredibly delicious mixture of lemon juice, dill, dijon, and olive oil.
As much as I’d like to think that I’d make this salad for just myself, it’s actually much more likely if I have company, and makes for a really excellent brunch dish. You can plate the whole thing up, invite over a few friends, and show off your kitchen skills!
How to Pronounce Nicoise
The first time I ordered a Nicoise salad, I asked for the “nick-oh-ize” salad …and the waitress looked at me like I was from Mars. In case you see it on a menu and you don’t feel like giving nearby listeners a chuckle, know that it’s a French-inspired salad that’s essentially pronounced “niece-whaa” (totally NOT a technical pronunciation technique, but you get the point).
What is Nicoise Salad?
Salmon nicoise salad is a fresh salad that usually combines a light lettuce with blanched vegetables, of which, asparagus is a mainstay. Salmon is a pretty typical protein on the nicoise and hard-boiled eggs are also included. This salad is usually beautifully plated with a very fresh dressing that I could eat with a spoon alone. I’ve eaten a lot of salads in my life, y’all, and this one is STILL one of my very favorites.
All of the ingredients here are super fresh, accessible, and REALLY delicious. Here’s what you’ll need:
For the Salad
- Eggs – you’ll need 3 eggs for this recipe.
- Baby Yukon Gold Potatoes – in addition to the eggs, you’ll also want to grab 1½ pounds of baby yukon gold potatoes.
- Asparagus – asparagus is a staple ingredient in nicoise salad! You’ll need 1 bunch of asparagus with tough stems removed here. If asparagus isn’t your thing, feel free to sub green beans here. Both make for a really tasty green veggie addition!
- Butter Lettuce – 1 head of butter lettuce torn into individual leaves acts as the base of the salad.
- Salmon Filet – 1 (1-1½ pound) salmon filet acts as our main source of protein here.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil – you’ll use 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to brush over top the salmon filet.
- Sea Salt + Pepper – to season the salmon, you’ll need a ½ teaspoon of sea salt and a ¼ teaspoon of pepper.
- Radishes – 4 thinly sliced radishes will add another layer of veggies to the mix.
- Fresh Dill – fresh chopped dill garnishes the salad and adds such a delicious herbiness!
For the Dressing
- Dijon Mustard – for the dressing, you’ll need 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard,…
- Fresh Dill – …1 tablespoon of fresh chopped dill,…
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil – …a ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil, and…
- Lemon Juice – …the juice of one lemon!
How to Make Salmon Nicoise Salad
This recipe is super easy to throw together. An important thing to note here: while the eggs, potatoes, and asparagus are all cooked via boiling, you can actually cook them all in the same pot of water (less dirty dishes!) If you want to take this route, we recommend boiling the eggs first, then potatoes, then asparagus. Here’s (step-by-step) what you’ll need to do:
- Soft Boil the Eggs – bring about 3 inches of water to a boil in a large pot. Once boiling, transfer the eggs from the refrigerator to the pot, and boil the eggs for exactly 10 minutes. While the eggs are boiling, prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice cubes and water. Once the 10 minutes is up, use a slotted spoon to transfer the eggs from the boiling water to the ice bath, and let them sit in the ice bath for at least 15 minutes. Once completely chilled, peel and halve the eggs.
- Roast the Salmon – preheat the oven to 375°F and place the salmon filet on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush with the olive oil, season with sea salt and pepper, and bake for 13-15 minutes or until the salmon flakes easily with a fork.
- Boil the Potatoes – place potatoes in the pot of water used to boil the eggs. Add water to the pot if needed, making sure that there is enough water in the pot to cover the potatoes by one inch. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, and cook for 15-20 minutes until fork tender. Then, remove the potatoes, reserving the water for the asparagus. Once cooled, cut the potatoes into quarters.
- Blanch the Asparagus – in the same pot of water that you cooked the potatoes in, bring the water back to boiling and add the asparagus. Boil the asparagus for 5 minutes (for a crisp-tender asparagus) or up to 10 minutes (for a softer asparagus). While the asparagus is boiling, fill a large bowl with ice water (feel free to use the same bowl of ice water as you did for the eggs!). Once the asparagus is done cooking, add it to the ice bath, and once it’s completely chilled (10-15 minutes), pat it dry with a paper towel or clean dishcloth.
- Make the Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette – in a small bowl, add the lemon juice, dijon mustard, and dill, and whisk, then slowly pour in the olive oil as you continue whisking.
- Assemble the Salad – place the butter lettuce on a platter, then add the salmon, potatoes, asparagus, sliced radishes, and soft boiled eggs. Drizzle with the lemon-dill vinaigrette and serve!
What to Do With Leftover Nicoise Salad
Nicoise salad is great on day 2, but we recommend waiting to add the dressing to the salad until you’re ready to eat it!
Salmon Nicoise Salad
For the Salad:
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Soft Boil the Eggs: Bring about 3 inches of water to a boil in a large pot. Once boiling, transfer the eggs from the refrigerator to the pot, and boil the eggs for exactly 10 minutes. While the eggs are boiling, prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice cubes and water. After 10 minutes, transfer the eggs to the ice bath. Once completely chilled, peel and halve the eggs.
- Roast the Salmon: Place the salmon filet on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Bake for 13-15 minutes, until the salmon flakes easily with a fork.
- Boil the Potatoes: Place potatoes in the large pot used to boil the eggs. Add water to the pot if needed, making sure there is enough water to cover the potatoes by one inch, and place a lid on the pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cook for 15-20 minutes until tender, then remove the potatoes, reserving the water. Once cooled, cut the potatoes into quarters.
- Blanch the Asparagus: In the same pot of water that you cooked the potatoes in, add the asparagus, and bring the water back up to boiling. Boil the asparagus for 5 minutes (for a crisp-tender asparagus) or up to 10 minutes (for a softer asparagus). While the asparagus is cooking, if needed, add ice and water to the ice bath you used for the eggs. Once the asparagus is done cooking, add it to the bowl of ice water to chill for 10-15 minutes. Once chilled, pat the asparagus dry.
- Make the Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette: In a small bowl, add the lemon juice, dijon mustard, and dill and whisk, then slowly pour in the olive oil as you continue whisking.
- Assemble the Salad: place the butter lettuce on a platter, then add the salmon, potatoes, asparagus, sliced radishes, and soft boiled eggs, and dress with the lemon dill vinaigrette. Serve!