California Nicoise Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette and Fresh Herbs

My French Cuisine final was today so I’ve had French food on my mind all week.

I loved my French cuisine class.

It seems like pretty much all cooking techniques have stemmed from French cuisine in some way or another. I like to compare it to most languages stemming from Latin. If you know Latin then you have a better chance of interpreting a lot of other languages, just like if you know the French cooking techniques then you have a good basis for cooking most things. If you know how to make the 5 mother sauces, then you can pretty much make any sauce. If you can make a good stock then you can make any soup. If you know how to poach an egg then you’re automatically an egg master. You get my drift.

Nicoise salad was one of my favorite things that I learned how to make in class. I loved the fresh flavors of the crispy shocked veggies with the saltiness of the black olives, and then the potatoes and eggs for richness. I loved having a new salad to add to my repetoire.

Plus, when you can pronounce “nicoise” you sound so fancy. And I love to sound fancy! (Nee- swaz for your information)

This is my take on a nicoise salad with a few California twists, and a fresh lemon vinaigrette topped with fresh herbs.


California Nicoise Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette and Fresh Herbs


serves about 4

  • 4-6 hard boiled eggs (add eggs to cold water, bring to boil, cover and remove from heat, sit 10 minutes, put in cold water and peel)
  • 20-30 black olives
  • 4-6 small red potatoes, boiled until fork tender
  • two handfuls of shocked haricot verts (Throw into boiling water for 15-20 seconds and then directly into an ice bath).
  • 1/2 english cucumber, chopped
  • 2 ripe avocados, sliced
  • 4 salmon fillets, patted dry
  • EVOO
  • S&P
  • small handful fresh parsley, stems removed and finely chopped
  • 4 green onions, finely chopped

For Vinaigrette:

  • 2 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 1/3 cup or so red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • juice of one fresh lemon
  • 1/2 cup EVOO
  • S&P to taste


  1. Using a whisk dissolve honey and garlic in vinegar and lemon juice, with a pinch of salt and pepper. Slowly drizzle EVOO into bowl while continuously whisking so that dressing emulsifies. Season with more S&P and set aside.
  2. Arrange salad and then cook salmon.
  3. Too cook salmon, combine fillets in a bowl with 2 Tbsp or so EVOO. Season generously on both sides with fresh ground black pepper and salt. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add salmon skin side down. It should have a nice sizzle immediately. Cook a few minutes on each side reducing heat to medium high if necessary, so that inside is no longer raw, but still a bit pink with nice sear on the outside. Fish should flake a bit but not fall apart. I removed the skin before putting it on the salad but that’s up to you.
  4. Top salad with salmon and serve with a drizzle vinaigrette and a sprinkle of fresh herbs.

California Nicoise Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette and Fresh Herbs