If you are ever at a restaurant and see salad niçoise on the menu, I highly recommend you give it a try. There are probably one million variations on this classic salad, but most of them involve hard boiled eggs, potatoes, and olives. Plus, the salad is often served in a segmented fashion that I think is both pretty and fun to eat. Sort of reminds me of being a kid and "needing" to keep different foods on my plate separated.
This version is all about spring flavors like asparagus and butter lettuce. The dressing is a lemony vinaigrette because I love the taste of asparagus and lemon together. So bright and flavorful but still totally good for you. I'm trying to get more into salads this season, and the weather is warming up. So this one is a real treat as well as super filling.
For the salad:
10-12 asparagus stalks (I saw white and green at the store so I got both!)
one head butter lettuce
2-3 new potatoes
2-3 hard boiled eggs
5-6 niçoise olives (or Kalamata if you can't find niçoise)
protein of choice (options: cooked shrimp, canned tuna, or cubed tofu)
*You can easily change up the salad ingredients based on what is available where you live
For the dressing:
juice from 2 lemons
1/2 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
1/2 cup olive oil
2-3 tablespoons parsley
salt + pepper to taste
I like to cook at least 5-6 hard boiled eggs at once to use in this salad, and then have more throughout the week. Might as well if you're going to the trouble, right? I'll often do this a day or two before I make a salad so it's already done. This cuts your prep time down substantially.
You can hard boil eggs by placing eggs in a pot filled with enough water to cover the eggs. Bring to boil over medium heat. Place the lid on top, remove from heat, and allow the eggs to continue to cook for 10 minutes. Strain from the water, and once cool enough to handle, peel for use. Or you can leave them unpeeled in the refrigerator for 4-5 days (probably longer, but I usually just make enough to last me this long). Another method is to bake eggs in the oven.
Remove the woody ends from the asparagus stalks. Clean and slice the potatoes. Boil the potatoes in salted water until just tender. During the last 4-6 minutes, add the asparagus to the same pot and cook until the green ones turn bright green and are tender and easy to bite through. Strain and rinse in cool water.
For the dressing, combine in a medium or small mixing bowl the lemon juice, mustard, garlic and shallot. Slowly drizzle the olive oil in as you whisk so it will blend together well. Toss in the parsley. Taste and add salt and pepper to your liking.
Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.