This somewhat non-traditional take on the delicious Niçoise Salad includes buttery potatoes, marinated peppers, green beans, cherry tomatoes, bacon, and tangy Pomegranate Molasses Vinaigrette.
For the Pomegranate Molasses Vinaigrette:
- 1/3 cup diced shallot (1 large shallot, outer skin removed)
- 1/3 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp honey
- 3 tbsp pomegranate molasses (*see note)
- 2 tsp kosher salt (3 tsp table salt)
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup bacon fat – reserved from sautéing bacon for the salad. You can also use extra virgin olive oil if you prefer.
For the Salad:
- 2 tsp grapeseed or extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lb thick cut bacon, sliced into 1-inch pieces (after cooking, reserve bacon grease for salad dressing)
- 1 lb new potatoes (small round potatoes), washed and unpeeled
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 lb green beans, fresh or frozen. If fresh, snip off the ends and cut into 1-inch pieces.
- 1 medium size red onion, outer skin removed, cut in half, each half cut into thin (about 1/8-inch) slices
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup (approximately 12 ounces) marinated roasted bell peppers (*see note)
- 8 cups washed Romain or Boston Lettuce cut into bite-size pieces (*see note)
- Croutons, for serving, prepared or Homemade. (*See note)
Make the Pomegranate Molasses Vinaigrette:
- Put the diced shallots in a bowl and pour the rice vinegar over them. Let sit for 15 minutes to mellow their flavor. Add the mustard, honey, pomegranate molasses, salt, and pepper and whisk to combine. Add the bacon fat or olive oil by pouring it into the dressing in a thin steady steam, whisking constantly as you pour.
Make the Salad:
- Cook the bacon: Add the oil to a 12-inch (or larger) skillet and set it over medium heat. Add the pieces of bacon and cook, stirring frequently, until the bacon is crispy. Using a slotted spoon, remove the cooked bacon from the skillet to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Reserve the bacon fat that’s in the skillet for the salad dressing.
- Cook the potatoes: Fill a large saucepan about halfway with water and add 2 tablespoons of salt and the potatoes. Set the pan over high heat to bring the water to a boil. When the water boils, lower the heat slightly, to maintain a simmer. Let the potatoes boil until tender – approximately 20 minutes. Drain the cooked potatoes in a colander set in the sink then place them in a bowl. Add 1 tbsp rice vinegar and toss the potatoes around in the bowl to coat. Set aside.
- Cook the eggs: Fill a medium size saucepan about 3/4 full of water and set it over high heat. When the water comes to a boil, carefully add the eggs. Let the water come back to a full boil, then reduce the heat so that the water maintains a very gentle simmer with bubbles breaking the surface only here and there. Let the eggs cook in the gently simmering water for 10 minutes. Remove the eggs to a bowl of ice water, let sit for at least 10 minutes to cool, then peel and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices.
- Cook the green beans: Fill a medium size saucepan about halfway full with water and add 1 tbsp of salt. Set the pan over high heat and bring the water to a boil. Add the green beans (no need to thaw if frozen) and boil for about 3 minutes, just until the beans are tender. Drain in a colander in the sink. Rinse the beans under cold water for a minute or two to stop their cooking.
- Assemble and serve the salad: You can either assemble the salad on one large platter, or set out all the salad components and let each person build their own. If assembling on a large platter, lay down the lettuce first, then arrange all the other components in groups over the salad. Either drizzle the dressing over the salad, or allow each person to dress their own. Pass the croutons alongside the salad; adding them to the salad will make them soggy.
- If you’re making this salad as a main dish for 4 people, 8 cups of lettuce will allow for 2 cups per person, which is a generous amount of greens. If you feel this is too much (or too little) adjust accordingly.
- Because it’s become increasingly popular over the past few years, you can sometimes find bottles of Pomegranate Molasses in supermarkets. And, of course, like everything else in the world, you can order it on Amazon. A bottle of Pomegranate Molasses will run you around $15. Making it yourself will cost you about 1/3 of that and is as simple as pouring some pomegranate juice into a pan and letting it reduce down into a thick, intensely flavored syrup. Here’s how to make it.
- Marinated Bell Peppers are one of my favorite refrigerator staples. They are easy to make and will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. You can also find jars of prepared marinated peppers in most major supermarkets. They are also available on Amazon.
- Homemade Crouton options: Homemade croutons are one of those things that are so simple to make and so delicious that I feel they’re almost always worth it. This simple recipe will show you how. Another option, is to simply sautéed some bread cubes in leftover bacon fat. Simply cut a few slices of bread into 1-inch cubes, heat a few tablespoons of bacon grease in a skillet, and toast the bread in the hot bacon grease until crunchy. Sprinkle the croutons with a bit of salt towards the end of cooking.
Keywords: Nicoise Salad, Main dish salad, bacon, pomegranate salad, pomegranate molasses vinaigrette, salad for dinner, vegetables