Modified from the original by ISA CHANDA MOSKOWITZ/APPETITE FOR REDUCTION Salad Nicoise is steamed potatoes, crisp green beans and salty Nicoise olives dunked in a lush dressing. Traditionally it is served with tuna which is replaced here with mashed chickpeas. Green Goddess Garlic Dressing is a perfect accompaniment, but you can also serve it with a more traditional balsamic vinaigrette, if you prefer. Tiny red potatoes work best here, but if you can’t find any, then chop up regular ones into 1-inch pieces.
- 1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas
- 2 tbsp capers
- ¼ kg small, whole red potatoes
- ¼ kg green beans, stems removed
- 1/2 small red onion, cut into thin strips
- 1/3 cup nicoise olives (kalamata olives work, too)
- 8 cups chopped red leaf lettuce
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes (orange ones if you can get them)
- fresh parsley and chopped chives, for garnish
- about 3/4 cup Green Goddess Garlic Dressing
Steam the potatoes for 10 to 15 minutes; they should be pierced easily with a fork. Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath by filling a mixing bowl halfway with ice water. Add the green beans to the steamer and steam for 2 minutes, until the beans are bright green. Transfer the potatoes and green beans to the ice bath immediately. Let them cool while you prepare everything else. Place the chickpeas in a mixing bowl and use a small potato masher or fork to mash them. There should be no whole chickpeas left, but they shouldn’t be completely smooth like hummus, either; you want some texture. Add the capers and 2 tbsp of the dressing. Mix well and set aside. To assemble, place the lettuce in wide bowls.
In a Salad Nicoise, usually all the components are kept together, instead of tossed. Place a handful each of potatoes and green beans in piles on the lettuce, along with a wedge of sliced onion and a handful of tomatoes. Place a scoop of the chickpea mixture in the center and top with the olives. Garnish with fresh herbs and serve with the dressing on the side.