Niçoise Salad with Chicken, Veggies, and Eggs.
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 in my Chicken Salad Niçoise. Arranging the ingredients in separate little piles allows everyone to grab what they want, and only what they want.
Chicken Salad Niçoise can be composed of whatever ingredients you like.
This particular recipe for Chicken Salad Niçoise includes red potatoes, hard boiled eggs, tomatoes, and chicken, sautéed green beans and red peppers left over from last night's roast chicken dinner. But feel free to 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.
For the Vinaigrette:
- ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 shallot, peeled and quartered
- 3 tablespoon 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
- ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
For the salad:
- Simple homemade croutons
- 1 ½ lbs small red potatoes, skins scrubbed (if on the large side, cut in half)
- 2 tablespoon dry vermouth (optional)
- 4 large eggs
- 3 tomatoes, cut into eighths
- ½ small red onion, sliced very thin
- about 1 lb Boston, Bibb, or Romain lettuce, or any variety of mixed greens
- 10 - 12 oz sautéed green beans
- 2 or 3 sautéed red peppers
- 8 - 12 oz roast chicken
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 adjust the amount of salt and pepper if necessary. Pour into a covered container or squeeze bottle, and refrigerate until ready to use. Shake well before using.
Make the salad:
- Make some croutons
- Fill a large dutch oven or stock pot with water and a couple tablespoons of salt, and bring to a boil. Add the potatoes and let simmer until they are tender when poked with a fork, about 15 minutes.
- Pour the the potatoes into a colander to drain and then transfer them to a medium sized bowl and toss with vermouth (if using) and about 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Allow them to sit for a couple of minutes and then toss with ¼ cup vinaigrette. Set aside.
- Fill a medium sized sauce pan with water and bring to a rolling boil. 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 and toss with about 3 tablespoon of the vinaigrette, and 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper.
- Arrange the lettuce on a large serving plate. Arrange all the vegetables - potatoes, tomatoes, red peppers, green beans - and eggs in piles around the edges of the plate.
- Toss the chicken with about 2 tablespoon of vinaigrette and arrange 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.