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″ cubes.
- 1½ cups chickpeas (kabuli chana), soaked overnight
- 2 tbsp capers
- ¼ kg small, whole red potatoes
- ¼ kg green beans, stems removed
- ½ a small red onion, cut into thin strips
- ⅓ cup Nicoise olives (Kalamata olives work too)
- 8 cups chopped red leaf lettuce
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes (orange ones if you can get them)
- 2-3 tbsp fresh parsley and chopped chives, for the garnish
- ¾ cup green goddess garlic dressing
Drain, rinse and pressure cook chickpeas for 1 whistle and 10 minutes on simmer, until done. Steam the potatoes for 10 to 15 minutes – they should be easily pierced with a fork. Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath by filling a mixing bowl up to the halfway mark 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 keep aside. To assemble, place the lettuce in wide bowls.
In 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 centre and top with the olives. Garnish with fresh herbs and serve with the dressing on the side.