Today we are making the famous Salade Niçoise as the designated recipe for the French Fridays with Dorie group.
Salade Niçoise, of course, is a classic French recipe but order this salad anywhere and you are likely to get a different salad every time. One cook might include haricot vert, another a handful of broad beans (also known as fava beans). You might see sliced artichoke hearts, or different kinds of lettuce, even raw peppers and fines herbes (such as parsley, chives, chervil and tarrragon). And there are vinaigrettes with or without garlic. There does not really seem to be any rules for making this salad, but rather there are constants.
The elements that seem to be present in most recipes for Salade Niçoise, including Dorie Greenspans´s, involve boiled small potatoes (ideally new potatoes), green beans, hard-boiled eggs, lettuce, shallots, canned oil-packed tuna, ripe tomatoes, Niçoise olives, capers, and anchovies.
Having regards to the fact that we were ten people around the table today, I tripled the recipe. And since no one really enjoys anchovies in their salad (neither those preserved in oil, nor those kept in coarse salt), I decided to skip those. The capers were replaced with some wonderful caper berries (love those) but other than that – no change to Dorie´s basic recipe.
The dressing for the salad was made of Dijon mustard, olive oil, freshly ground black pepper and sea salt.
Accompanied by some lovely Savory Sesame and Fennel Cookies, the Salade Niçoise was just perfect for our late lunch today.
Savory Sesame and Fennel Cookies (Ka´ach Bilmach)
(adapted and translated by yours truly from the German edition of "Jerusalem, A Cookbook", by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi)
makes about 30-40
Ingredients for the Cookies
- 4 cups AP flour (I used strong flour)
- 6 1/2 tbsps olive oil
- 6 1/2 tbsps unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
- 1 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp fin sea salt
- 6 1/2 tbsps water (300ml)
- 2 tbsps sesame seeds
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fennel seeds, slightly crushed
- 1 egg for brushing, whisked
- sesame seeds and fennel seeds to sprinkle on top (optional)
Preparation of the Savory Cookies
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (400 degrees Fahrenheit).
- In a large bowl whisk together the flour, salt, sugar, yeast, baking powder and sesame seeds or fennel seeds.
- Make a well in the middle of the flour and add the oil and butter.
- Gradually add the water and mix until a dough forms.
- Knead for a couple of minutes (I did this step by hand).
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Form 35 grams (1 ounce) dough balls into ropes.
- Form each rope into a ring and place on your parchment paper lined baking sheets.
- Proof the unbaked cookies for 30 minutes (covered with kitchen towel and in a draft free area).
- Brush the cookies with the whisked egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds or fennel seeds.
- Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes until lightly golden on top.
- Let completely cool on wire racks.
To see how much the other members of the French Fridays with Dorie group liked Dorie´s Salade Niçoise, please click here.