Niçoise Salad with Grilled Vegetables and Basil-Mustard Vinaigrette

Ingredients

For the vinaigrette

  • 2 Tablespoons  red-wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon  Dijon mustard
  • shallot, peeled and quartered
  • 12  large basil leaves
  • 1/2 Cup  extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 Teaspoon  sea salt
  •   Freshly ground pepper, to taste

For the grilled vegetables

  • baby eggplants, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices lengthwise
  • 2 Teaspoons  extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for grilling the eggplant
  •   Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • medium-sized red onion, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices through the root end*
  • 1 Teaspoon  balsamic vinegar

For the salad

  • large handful baby arugula
  • 1 1/2 Pound  baby red potatoes, unpeeled, boiled until tender, and halved
  • 8 Ounces  haricots verts, trimmed and left whole
  • ripe medium-sized tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  •   4-6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and halved
  • 1/2 Cup  Niçoise olives
  • 1/3 Cup  large caper berries, drained

When a salad graduates from an afterthought to a showpiece, chances are you’re talking Salade Niçoise.

Packed with flavor, it’s a light but complete meal that also sticks to your ribs. It’s perhaps my favorite dish to have on hot days.

Here I take the classic Provençal dish and serve it with grilled vegetables and a basil vinaigrette — all in celebration of summer’s exuberant flavors.

On a side note, although my Niçoise is fishless, grilled tuna steak would be a great addition to it.

See all tuna recipes.

Directions

For the vinaigrette

Place all of the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process until the basil is finely chopped and the vinaigrette is well-blended. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

For the grilled vegetables

Preheat a gas grill on high heat or prepare a charcoal grill. Lightly brush the eggplant slices on both sides with olive oil. Season with salt, to taste, and grill until grill marks appear on all sides. Transfer to a tray and set aside.

Place the onion slices in a bowl. Add the vinegar and oil. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Toss carefully, taking care not to break the slices apart, and transfer to a perforated stainless steel pan. Grill until charred. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

For the salad

Spread the baby arugula on a large serving platter. Top with the grilled eggplant, grilled onions, potatoes, haricots verts, tomatoes, eggs, olives, and caper berries. Serve with the vinaigrette on the side.

Notes

*Note: Make sure the slices stay attached together.

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