Is the oven on or is my back door open? It is impossible to tell at this point.
It’s the kind of hot that makes you want to lie on the cold floor in front of a fan covered in ice packs. It’s too hot to even swim. It’s definitely way too hot to turn on the oven. And while I love grilling, especially in the summer, it’s too hot to stand over the coals.
This week, I’ll be leaning into the lazy days of summer with this beautiful salad.
It’s a healthy, easy, one bowl wonder that the whole family will enjoy. We will eat outside and I’ll kick off my shoes and drink ice cold French wine. Lean into the French theme and round out the meal with a lovely cheese plate with fresh fruit, like a farmers market peach.
Plus, since this is a dairy meal, you have ice cream for dessert. Nothing like a no-cook Shabbat on a hot summer night!
My family has been through a lot this year, and I am guessing yours has too. It’s time to enjoy summer and try to relax and recharge before the high holidays come, with all the joy, stress, and pandemic-related challenges. This dinner is also perfect if you’re observing the nine days — no meat, little prep, and full of vegetables to help you hydrate before the big fast.
After a year focused on survival and safety, we all need to find time and space to regain our equilibrium and recover from adrenal burnout. Or at least that’s what I tell myself while refusing to turn the oven on this week. Self-care comes in all sorts of forms.
Smoked Salmon Niçoise Salad
1 pound mix escarole, frisee, radicchio, and endive, washed and dried. (I like bracing bitter greens, but if that’s not your thing go with butter lettuce. I wouldn’t do anything too delicate or it will get crushed and wilted)
12 ounces haricot vert ( traditionally blanched first, but honestly it’s just too hot!)
24 ounces cooked red potatoes( I cooked mine in the microwave the morning before. Too hot to boil things)
8 ounces peeled and cleaned radishes, cut into quarters
A tablespoon fresh diced tarragon
3 Persian or pickling-sized cucumbers
10-12 ounces salmon, nova or belly preferred. Gravlax or hot-smoked salmon would also work.
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons of grainy Dijon mustard
4 tablespoons of champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon of fresh dill
Juice of one lemon, about 1/3 cup
Whisk together ingredients for the dressing. Let sit for ten minutes. Turn on Edith Piaf and pour yourself a glass of wine. You know, to make sure it’s good.
Cut your cucumbers into slices, quarter radishes, cut haricot vert into inch-long pieces and halve the red potato. Lightly season and set aside.
Take your largest salad bowl. Shape matters here - you want something shallow. A large platter would also work. Place greens at the bottom of the bowl, lightly season, and very lightly dress - you don’t want it to wilt.
Artfully place the vegetables atop the greens, grouped by type. Lay the salmon languidly over the center of the salad. Drizzle about half the remaining dressing over the vegetables, and garnish with tarragon and dill. Serve immediately. If making ahead, wait to dress the top. Serve with leftover dressing to dip your challah in.