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A Lovely Kinda-Niçoise Salad + Giveaway

by Kristina Gill

I’ve resisted my urge to become a BBQ expert this summer and instead I’ve gone on a salad kick! My salads range from the simplest undressed green salad to more elaborate salads, such as the farro salad we shared with you here, the burrata salad we shared here, or the Vietnamese chicken salad we shared here. Next up on my list is Hetty McKinnon’s Kinda-Niçoise with Fried Green Beans, Roasted Kale, Lentils, Steamed Eggs, and Caper Mayo. It comes from Hetty’s most recent book Neighborhood, which is all about hearty salads and other plant-based recipes, and we are lucky to have three copies to give away to our readers! To enter the contest, leave a comment below with an answer to this question: What is the best salad you’ve ever eaten? Deadline for entry is the end of the day on Sunday, August 20th, 2017. —Kristina

Why Hetty loves this salad: Salade niçoise is a classic, and with good reason. It is effortlessly rustic and sophisticated at the same time, brimming with delicate French beans and potatoes that are enlivened by the saltiness of anchovies and olives. My vegetarian niçoise is inspired by this Provencal classic, bringing the seasonal produce in the form of kale, green beans, tomatoes, and radishes, but veers left-of-center with a bold caper-laced mayonnaise. French Puy lentils, so abundant at Provencal markets, makes this salad full-bodied and intensely satisfying. A niçoise is not complete without egg — steamed eggs in fact! Steaming your eggs, much like you would vegetables, results in softer, silkier eggs — the steam cooks your eggs gently, delivering a tender egg white and creamier yolk.

{Photography by Luisa Brimble}

Neighborhood by Hetty McKinnon

About Hetty: Hetty McKinnon is an Australian-born food entrepreneur with an enduring love of vegetables, salads, and a strong passion for sharing these meals with family, friends, and neighbors. McKinnon is the author of two cookbooks — Community and Neighborhood — and is the owner of Arthur Street Kitchen, a members-only salad club where she delivers salads by bike and on foot to neighborhoods throughout Brooklyn. She also writes food articles for House & Garden magazine, Alphabet Family Journal, The Design Files, and The Planthunter. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, Ross, and their three children: Scout, Dash, and Huck. Find Hetty on Instagram here, and on Twitter here.

Hetty McKinnon with her husband and children.

A street corner from Hetty McKinnon’s Brooklyn neighborhood.

Fresh produce from Hetty’s neighborhood markets.

Hetty McKinnon’s Kinda-Niçoise salad

 

Kinda-Niçoise with Fried Green Beans, Roasted Kale, Lentils, Steamed Eggs, and Caper Mayo

There is much to love about a classic salade niçoise. As with many rustic French salads, niçoise traditionally brims with the freshest local produce — olives, oil-cured tuna, anchovies, and tender green beans. My version celebrates the traditional salty, acidic, green-ness of a classic niçoise, bringing in unbelievably soft, silky steamed eggs as my protein component. Steaming eggs is a nifty little trick I learned from my friend Elham Abi-Ghanem, the best egg cook I know!

Gluten-Free | Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • For the Salad:
  • 6 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (200 g) puy lentils, rinsed (or another variety)
  • 2–3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ⅓ lb (150 g) green beans, trimmed and halved
  • 1 bunch of kale leaves, washed thoroughly, central stems removed, leaves torn
  • ½ cup basil leaves, torn
  • ½ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon tarragon leaves
  • ½ small red onion, very finely sliced
  • 3 radishes (about ¼ lb; 100 g), very finely sliced
  • ½ lb (200 g) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup pitted black olives (any variety), torn
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • For the Caper Mayonnaise:
  • 1 cup (250 g) whole-egg mayonnaise
  • ½ cup (125 g) natural yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon salted capers, rinsed and roughly chopped
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1 small garlic clove, very finely chopped
  • Sea salt and black pepper

Preparation

1

To make the salad: Fill a saucepan with water to a depth of 1 in (3 cm) and sit a steamer basket on the top. Place the eggs in the steamer basket, cover with a lid, and bring the water to a boil. Steam the eggs for around 5 minutes for soft-boiled, 7 minutes for medium, or around 9 minutes for hard-boiled. (Of course, the amount of time will depend on the size of your eggs, so you may have to try this a few times to get it perfect for you!) When ready, immediately cool under cold running water.

2

Add the lentils to a saucepan of salted water, bring to a boil, and cook for 20–25 minutes until just tender. Drain.

3

In a large frying pan, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and fry the green beans for 3–4 minutes until they are just tender and are starting to char. Remove the beans from the pan and add another tablespoon of oil, then add the kale and cook for a few minutes until wilted and starting to color.

4

Combine the beans, kale, and herbs with the red onion, radishes, tomatoes, olives, and lentils. Pour over the red wine vinegar, drizzle with some olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. To serve, pile the salad on a serving dish and drizzle the caper mayo over the top. Peel the eggs, then break up or slice them and place over the salad, finishing with a few good grinds of pepper.

5

To make the caper mayonnaise, whisk together the mayonnaise, yogurt, and olive oil until well combined. Stir in the capers, lemon juice, and garlic, and season with pepper and a little salt to taste (you shouldn’t need much salt as the capers will already make this quite salty).

From Neighborhood by Hetty McKinnon © 2016 by Hetty McKinnon. Photography © 2016 by Luisa Brimble. Reprinted in arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boulder, CO

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Comments

  • The best salad i’ve ever eaten is the Boucheron goat cheese salad from Nicola’s in Cincinnati. It’s a lovely portion of goat cheese, which has been warmed in the oven (maybe the broiler?) so the outside has a bit of crisp to it, but the inside is soft and melty. Then they put mixed greens, pistachios, apples, and truffle on it, and I think a light dressing of oil and vinegar. It’s AMAZING. It’s been on their menu for years, and will probably never be taken off :)

    Thanks!

  • This sounds delicious. The best salad I had recently was an avocado salad I ate at Cafe Compagne at Pike Place market in Seattle. It was fairly simple but every ingredient was prepared in the tastiest way. Thanks for the giveaway.

  • Red cabbage, arugula, cucumber, grated carrots, red onion, walnuts, grated Pecora cheese, I usually use oil and balsamic vinegar but I went on a bleu cheese dressing kick for awhile and that was really good.

  • YUM! I’ve ALWAYS loved Nicoise salads, and gravitate to them on the menu. Lately, my favorite salad is La Copine at La Copine Kitchen in Yucca Valley. House smoked salmon on greens with radish, poached egg and other tasty bits. Solidly scrumptious!

  • What a great take on a Niçoise salad! The Gladly in Phoenix, Arizona makes a craveable chopped salad but my go to has been the smoked salmon salad from La Grande Orange. The mix of fresh basil, arugula and spinach, along with Israeli couscous, smoked salmon, sunflower seeds, and a lemon basil dressing is all I want to eat in the summer. Thanks!

  • Roasted beet and lentils, with pea greens and ricotta salata cubes, with a very light lemon Dijon vinaigrette. It was so fresh and simple, but the flavors were astounding! This recipe sounds great also, thanks for sharing it!

  • Recently, the little gem salad with fresh peas, roasted almonds, and fresh ricotta at Accanto in Portland, OR stole my heart. Seasonal and delicious. This recipe (and book for that matter) looks delectable as well!

  • I love the peppery taste of arugula so it has to be in my salad bowl! I then add a bit of spinach, roasted chicken, chopped candied bacon (because everything is better with it), caramelized onions, balsamic glazed tomatoes, pecans, raisins and a vinaigrette.

  • I have a favorite salad from a u-mix place: Mixed greens, flank steak, sundried tomatoes, corn, radishes, squash, and pita chips, with balsamic dressing. Totally random, but I love it.

  • The best salad I have ever had was recently at a friends house, she cooked a salad of Hetty’s, perhaps from the Neighborhood book. It was delicious. Roasted fennel with tomatoes, red onion, kale, basil among other scrumptious ingredients and mixed together with a sweet balsamic dressing. It made my friend look like a master cook, i was both jealous and impressed!
    Thank you.

  • This was many years ago but I still think of this salad: there is a small creperie in SE Portland Oregon called Chez Machin that had (has?) the most amazing Salade Lyonnaise. Everything about all the ingredients and how they all came together…it was perfect. (I highly recommend Chez Machin even if they don’t have that salad anymore but if you go, get the salad to start the experience!!)

  • The best salad I’ve ever eaten i s one that I made with romaine lettuce, red onions, tomatoes, sunflower seeds, croutons and red beets. Topped it off with a delicious avocado ranch dressing. I couldn’t get enough of it !!

  • The best salad I ever had came from a farm to table shop in California. The salad had a big pile of spinach with candied pecans, green apple slices, chicken which was lightly seasoned and goat cheese that had been whipped with herbes de provencal. The dressing was this citrus-y amazingness!

  • The best salad I ever had was the first time I experienced a spinach, candied walnut, bleu cheese with raspberry vinaigrette. I’ve since had many and perfected the recipe, but that first bite was a delicious revelation!

  • The best is always a summer Nicoise using our farmshare eggs and veggies. I think if I use this recipe, it might be the best salad ever-love the idea of lentils!

  • My favorite salad ever is at Coyle’s Bakeshop in Seattle. Fresh ricotta, garlic oil, green beans and pea shoots (with blossoms!), pistachio, lemon.

  • I have to say the salads my grandmother made when I was a kid. Everything in it, greens, tomatoes, herbs, was freshly picked from her enormous garden.

  • I grew up in Southern California where ripe and perfect avocados, tomatoes and jalapeños are plentiful! We made the cross country move to NYC in the middle of winter and went from beautiful 70° days to a literal blizzard. Wah! I got homesick pretty quickly. My dad express shipped me a box full of avocados and jalapeños as a surprise from home and they went straight into the most soothing homesick salad: crisp romaine, avocado, black beans, heirloom tomatoes, jalapeno, red onion, a few crushed corn chips, white cheddar and a squeeze of lime to dress it. Delish!

  • The best salad? Not sure … but the one I remember was a breakfast salad I had during a vacation brunch with my gal pals at a cozy cafe in Ahseville. It had local greens, roasted potatoes, fresh tomatoes, and a maple vinaigrette, all topped with a poached egg. Perfection.

  • I feel like this is the salad I have been searching for over the past couple months. Trying to concoct a quick lunch that is healthy yet satisfying has been a struggle this summer as I adapt to my new weekly organic box program (Nith River Organic Farms) I am excited to bring this recipe to my family at the cottage this week (they are uber healthy eaters and always tough to impress) wish me luck!

  • The Tasting Room’s mache salad topped with popcorn. I have been trying to recreate it since I first tried it 10 years ago! Now that it’s closed I have nothing to reference it to.

  • Beets from Ben’s garden next door, roasted and then tossed with parsley, toasted slivered almonds, scallions, farro and lemon zest vinaigrette. Topped with feta and shared with the neighbors!

  • Love any salad prepared with love, fresh from the garden and enjoyed with my grandson and daughter passing down the experience of nourishing your body! 🙏🏼

  • Salads are my all time favorite foods! My favorite green is mâche, called ‘Vogerlsalat” where I grew up.
    Currently I am going wild for a beet carpaccio (I consider a salad of a kind) prepared with walnuts, spring onions and a balsamic reduction. I sprinkle it with Raspberry Vinegar in the end.
    And there is always my polish grandmother’s cucumber salad….I often have to make it for my friends at their request.
    Happy summer
    Dodo

  • I would say the best salad I’ve ever eaten is definitely tabouleh. I’ve always loved eating even decorative parsley at restaurants, so the combo of parsley, mint, bulgur, tomatoes, and lemon was definitely a revelation. Herbs seem to dress up any salad so well, so it makes sense that a salad made almost completely of herbs would be even better!

  • Best salad for me is spinach, tomatoes, red onion, mushroom, egg, and red cabbage with a raspberry vinaigrette.

  • I’m honestly not a salad person, so when I find something I’m excited to eat that is also a salad, you know it must be good. I could eat the breakfast salad at Hungry Pigeon in Philadelphia every meal for the rest of my life and never get bored! It even made me like lentils, it’s a magic salad.

  • Grapefruit and Avocado is a favorite salad of mine to make. Taken from Dimitri’s, a small greek restaurant in Philadelphia this salad pairs well with most seafood dishes and grilled items. Ruby red grapefruit and tangerine segments over romaine lettuce are tossed with a simple sherry vinaigrette(I’ve also used red wine vinegar in a pinch). To finish garnished with ripe avocado and toasted almonds. The sweet and citrus components combined with the creamy avocado make for a bright and refreshing salad!

  • This was a really delicious recipe. A bit labor-intensive, but the result was worth it (which is not always the case). Different flavors in every biteful. I’ll be keeping this one.

  • Really, I think the best salad I’ve ever eaten was one I threw together with a bunch of random things I had on had. I can’t really remember what was on it, other than carrots, pickled peppers, bacon, and homemade crouton, but I can tell you I’ve never been able to recreate it. Of course.

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