It's the season again for cold, composed salads - my favorites! And this year, thanks to the steeping technique, I had absolutely perfect salmon to enjoy in my first Salade Niçoise of the year.
I had purchased two kinds of fresh fish last week, only to have life intervene in my plans, so I didn't use them as soon as I thought I would. When I was starting to feel uneasy about how long they had been in the fridge, I happened upon the recipe for steeping and was saved.
I steeped the halibut for dinner that very night. I steeped the salmon and chilled it overnight for use the next day. Such a win-win, as I only cooked once but we ate like kings twice.
The only mistake I made was discarding the steeping liquid before I realized I had just thrown away a lovely, delicate fish stock. Well, phooey! But there will be other steepings and next time I'll be smarter.
Niçoise Vinaigrette for the potato salad portion of Salade Niçoise.
3 Tablespoons fresh, bright olive oil
1-2 Tablespoons lemon juice (you can also use white wine vinegar)
2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard (I prefer Edmond Fallot brand)
1 healthy pinch of Herbes de Provence
4 medium sized red skin potatoes, boiled, cooled and sliced.
In a small bowl, whisk lemon juice and mustard together with Herbes de Provence until well blended. Drizzle in the olive oil a little a time, whisking like mad, until all the oil is incorporated into the sauce. The sauce should taste sharper than you want the finished potato salad to taste - the spuds will gentle it down - so taste and add more lemon juice if it seems too bland. Add salt and pepper to taste but be careful with the salt - the mustard will be fairly salty so you may not need too much.
Pour over sliced potatoes and toss gently to mix and coat each slice.