Smoked Mackerel Salade Niçoise is a Food To Glow summer favourite, made possibly more delicious and filling with extra vegetables. You can even make it vegan with my easy tweak. Summer eating at its simplest and most sublime.
This composed style of salad originates, of course, in the south of France. Best eaten in the shade of an olive grove, or under a flapping parasol on a dazzling white beach, this is THE salad for summer. Pair it with a bottle of chilled rosé, and I can’t think of anything better to tuck into during a spell of warm weather. This salad + a glass of wine = an unbeatable summer lunch. Whether it is your back garden, a green local park, the beach, lakeside, or indoors dodging a sudden thunderstorm, summer isn’t summer without this salad. Fact. 🙂
What is a salade Niçoise?
At its most basic it doesn’t even involve cooking – so no hard-boiled eggs, potatoes (!) or green beans. But, as you can go into half a dozen pavement cafes along the Riviera and never eat the same salade Niçoise, any recipe is more an interpretation than fact. What they will all have in common, however, is a salty backbone and bold, rough and tumble ingredients. There is nothing frilly or delicate about this salad.
The must-haves tend to include, but are not limited to: ripest tomatoes, green peppers (um, no), black olives – good ones, garlic, beans of some description, and a punchy vinaigrette – or just red wine vinegar and a generous slug of local olive oil.
Tend-to-haves are cooked new potatoes (yay!), hard-boiled eggs, anchovies, sliced onion, crisp Cos lettuce.
Occasionally there will be seared or jarred tuna instead of, or as well as salty, briney anchovies, but not so in the south of France. And never mayonnaise. Never.
What’s in this Smoked Mackerel Salade Niçoise
I am putting an “Auld-Alliance” spin with my Scottish sustainable smoked mackerel, but my Food To Glow interpretation is more than just a twist on the basics. We are talking bought marinated artichoke hearts (swoon!), all seasoned and tempting; thin slices of crisp radish; a handful of sprouted beans (in my case bought); sugar snap peas – no cook!; thin slices of red onion; crisp ovals of cucumber. Of course there are potatoes – impeccable Jersey Royals – still here for a couple more weeks; hard-cooked eggs; and just a few leaves of crunchy Gem lettuce. Add those green peppers if you want, but this is ridiculously over the top as it is. Because this is primarily a season-driven recipe, use broad beans, cooked and popped from their pods, or well-cooked runner beans, instead of the sugar snaps. I grow the latter, and when I can bear to collect more than I eat straight off the plant, they go in here.
Make it even easier
To make this a real no-brainer of a lunch or dinner, plan ahead. Cook the potatoes and beans the day before, and whisk up the dressing. Store these elements individually in your fridge until you are ready to put it all together. Why not pop the wine in the fridge as well. 🙂 I often cook up a pan each of eggs and potatoes for the week anyway, so naturally thoughts turn to smoked mackerel salade Niçoise more often than is seemly.
Fancy more salad ideas from Food To Glow?
and loads and loads more. Please see my Recipe Index, under “Salads”
If you want to read some mouth-watering prose on how to make the best salade Niçoise, do read Nigel Slater’s piece in The Guardian.
What is your favourite salad for summer? And, if you could eat it anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Smoked Mackerel Salade Niçoise
All the classics of a salade Niçoise but with extra vegetables, a tapenade vinaigrette and of course, sustainable smoked mackerel.
- 300 g new potatoes Jersey Royals if in season
- 2 eggs organic, free range
- 80 g sugar snap peas de-stringed if necessary; sliced if large
- 160 g cherry tomatoes halved; or any ripe tomato
- 80 g antipasti-style artichoke hearts
- 40 g radishes thinly sliced
- 80 g cucumber thinly sliced
- 4 tbsp sprouted beans or seeds rinsed well
- 1/4 red onion thinly sliced
- 100 g smoked mackerel or other cooked firm fish - tuna, salmon, herring, sardine
- 1 Gem lettuce sliced or kept as whole leaves
- 2 tsp tapenade or other similar olive paste
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar or cider vinegar
- 2.5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp chopped fresh tarragon
- 8 cured black olives pitted and sliced
- 1 small clove of garlic grated
Scrub but don't peel the potatoes, placing in a saucepan with cold water to cover. Bring to the boil, simmering with lid partially on, until just done. Some new potatoes take only eight minutes, while Jersey Royals can take around 15 minutes, or even longer. Let them steam-dry in a colander. Slice when cool enough to easily handle. You can do this earlier in the day, or the day before.
Meanwhile, add the eggs to a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring just to the boil then take off the heat, covered, and let sit for 15 minutes. Rinse and peel under cold running water. Like the potatoes, you can do this ahead of time.
To assemble, grab a platter or two generous plates and start arranging the vegetables and other bits in a way that pleases you. Serve with the tapenade vinaigrette (below), or other favourite vinaigrette.
Add all ingredients to a mixing jug or small bowl and whisk well. I also add in a few grinds of my favourite homemade pepper blend. See below.
Food To Glow Pepper Blend
You need an empty pepper grinder for this. Add 3 tbsp black peppercorns, 1 rounded teaspoon of coriander seeds and about 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of cardamom seeds (from cracked open green pods). Shake and use with everything!
The ultimate summer salad, using sustainable British fish, with so many healthy added extras. Feel free to riff on this to your heart's content. 🙂
Vegans: I've not forgotten you! Use 150g or so of cooked beans (I love haricot) and lightly mash them. Pour over the a little of the dressing and a squirt of lemon and let sit while the potatoes cook. Use these beans in place of the egg and fish.
Other fish and seafood to try: seared line-caught tuna; best quality line-caught jarred tuna; sustainable cooked prawns; flaked cold-smoked salmon; langoustines; smoked herring (may be a little bony for most people, but it's lovely stuff, as well as cheap and sustainable in the UK).
PIN NOW. MAKE SOON!