This gorgeous, hearty Chicken Salad Niçoise can be made with any seasonal vegetables that you happen to have on hand. Topped with roast chicken and homemade croutons, a free-form Salad Niçoise makes an easy, colorful, delicious meal.
Traditionally, Niçoise salads are "arranged", meaning that each ingredient is grouped together separately rather than all tossed together.
This can be a pretty handy way to serve a salad when making it for a group of people who may have different tastes, or when you know that not everyone you're serving it to will like everything in it.
For example, two of my kids don't like red peppers, one doesn't like tomatoes, and my husband doesn't like potatoes.
I, however, love all of these things and want them all on my plate. Arranging the ingredients in separate little piles on a large serving platter allows everyone to select what they want.
This Salad Can Include Whatever Ingredients You Like
This particular recipe includes red potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes, and roast chicken, and sautéed green beans and red peppers. But this is the kind of salad for which you can use whatever vegetables you like.
If using vegetables that are better served cooked rather than raw, give them a brief sauté in some olive oil.
Otherwise, simply slice, dice, toss with some vinaigrette, and arrange over a bed of crisp lettuce or mixed greens. Use tuna or salmon instead of chicken if you like. Toss in some olives. Add a few slices of pickled beets. I even added candied, pickled jalapeños once and they were delicious.
Chicken Salad Niçoise
This delicious, hearty Chicken Salad Niçoise can be made with any seasonal vegetables that you happen to have on hand.
For the Vinaigrette:
- ½ cup (112 grams) freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 medium shallot, peeled and cut into four quarters
- 3 tablespoons minced fresh basil
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme - OR, 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano - OR, 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon honey
- salt and pepper, to taste
- ¾ cup (150 grams) extra virgin olive oil
For the salad:
- Simple homemade croutons
- 1 ½ pounds small red potatoes, skins scrubbed (if on the large side, cut in half)
- 2 tablespoons salt (to season the potato cooking water)
- 2 tablespoons dry vermouth (optional)
- 4 large eggs
- 3 tomatoes, cut into eighths
- ½ small red onion, sliced very thin
- about 1 pound Boston, Bibb, or Romain lettuce, or any variety of mixed greens
- 10 ounces sautéed green beans
- 2 sautéed red peppers
- 8 - 12 ounces roast chicken, shredded
Make the Vinaigrette:
- Add all the vinaigrette ingredients except the olive oil to a blender and blend for 30 seconds or so on low speed to combine.
- With the blender running on medium speed, pour in the oil in a slow steady stream.
- Taste and add as much salt and pepper as you like. Pour into a covered container or squeeze bottle and refrigerate until ready to use. Shake well before using.
Make the salad:
- Make some croutons
- Add the potatoes to a large saucepan and cover with enough water to fully submerge them. Add 2 tablespoons of salt (it's important that the water taste salty) and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and let the potatoes cook until they are tender when poked with a fork, about 15 minutes.
- Pour the potatoes into a colander set inside the sink and then transfer them to a medium-sized bowl. Pour the vermouth over the potatoes (if using) and toss them around to coat. Allow the potatoes to sit for about 5 minutes, then pour about ¼ cup of the vinaigrette over them. Set aside.
- Hard boil the eggs: Fill a medium-sized saucepan with water and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Using tongs, gently lower the eggs into the boiling water. This will lower the temperature of the water slightly; wait for the water to come back to a rolling boil and then turn the temperature of the burner down to low. Cook eggs at a very gentle simmer for 11 minutes. Fill a bowl with cold water; using tongs, remove the eggs from the boiling water into the cold water. Let cool, then peel, and slice in half lengthwise.
- Put the tomatoes and onions into a bowl, sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper, and toss with about 3 tablespoons of the vinaigrette.
- Arrange the lettuce on a large serving plate. Arrange all the vegetables - potatoes, tomatoes, red peppers, green beans, and eggs in piles over the greens.
- Toss the chicken with about 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette and arrange it in the center of the plate.
- Serve the Chicken Salad Niçoise with the remaining dressing and croutons.
You might have noticed that the instructions call for tossing all the vegetables except the lettuce with the vinaigrette before serving. This is because the lettuce will remain crisp in the refrigerator for another day or so if it's not drenched in vinaigrette. I appreciate this if there's enough Chicken Salad Niçoise left over to serve as my lunch the next day.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 736Total Fat: 42gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 32gCholesterol: 230mgSodium: 887mgCarbohydrates: 63gFiber: 10gSugar: 15gProtein: 29g
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