adventures of an american housewife in the south of france

Summer Recipes: Salad Montpelliérain and How to Make Dressing

You've probably heard of a Salad Niçoise, but have you ever heard of a Salad Montpelliérain?  I assume not, because we just made it up.  A basic Salad Niçoise contains tuna, green beans, potatoes, hard boiled eggs, tomatoes, olives, and anchovies.  The Hub and I don't particularly like anchovies, only like olives occasionally, and prefer the salmon here in France to the tuna, so we decided to put together our own version of Salad Niçoise:  the Salad Montpelliérain.  This is actually a great salad to make if you have leftover potatoes, green beans or too many hard boiled eggs, which happens often in our home.

yum yum!

And here's the thing about salad dressing in France:  everyone makes it themselves.  In my mind, that's a great thing.  I love to make fresh salad dressing.  And ever since I learned the proper way to make it, I've enjoyed it even more.  So here's what you do.  First combine all your herbs, acids (lemon juice and/or vinegar) and other flavors (S&P, shallots, red onion, etc.) and whisk together.  Once those flavors are combined, slo-oo-owly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking vigorously.  Like, as fast as you can.  Doing this allows the dressing to emulsify.  To emulsify means to combine two liquids that do not normally go together, so when you emulsify the olive oil into the rest of the dressing, it helps it to not separate so quickly or drastically.  Make sense?  I've included the basic ratios in the directions below, but other flavor combos I like are:  lemon/dill/ww vinegar/garlic or lemon/dijon/champagne vinegar or lemon/balsamic/basil.  Get creative!

delicious, fresh, homemade dressing!

For the Salad You'll Need:
  • Salmon filets
  • Butter Lettuce (or any lettuce really)
  • 2 Hard Boiled Eggs
  • Green Beans, blanched
  • New Potatoes, or Red Potatoes cut up, boiled
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Red Onion, sliced
  • Any other veggies you want.  I used cucumber, red pepper and carrots
For the Dressing You'll Need:
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp. of champagne vinegar
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 tsp. chopped basil
  • 1 tsp. chopped thyme or other herbs
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 3/4 c. olive oil
Directions: It's useful to make part of this salad in advance if you can because you want everything to be cooled.  I hard boiled the eggs, blanched the green beans (which means placing them in boiling water for for about a minute and then immediately plunging them into an ice bath) and boiled the potatoes in the afternoon and placed them in the refrigerator until dinner time.  Once your ready to eat, season the salmon filets with S&P, then cook in a sauté pan about 4-5 minutes on each side or until cooked through. As the salmon is cooling, assemble the rest of your salad and make the salad dressing by combining the first 7 ingredients and then slowly whisking in the olive oil.  Toss the dressing with the salad and toss with the salmon, shredded.  Enjoy!

4 Responses to “Summer Recipes: Salad Montpelliérain and How to Make Dressing”

  1. nate says:

    Awesome post! Looks delicious! Having grown up with a French mom, we never once bought salad dressing growing up, and to this day Jess and I make our own salad dressing all the time — never store bought.

    Our recipe is pretty basic:
    – Dijon mustard
    – Balsamic Vinegar
    – Olive Oil
    – Crushed garlic
    – S&P

    Thanks for sharing yours — gave me some ideas, like adding herbs…

  2. Andy says:

    Love this post…especially because it allows me to add something based on my chemical engineering background.

    You’re right about needing to emulsify the oil and vinegar and the addition of the oil slowly with vigorous mixing creates small oil droplets which will stay in the vinegar solution longer, but you really just have a suspension at this point vs an emulsification.

    What you need are emulsifiers. Nate has one which is mustard. Others include egg yolks and honey. Use these and watch how your salad dressing will stay together longer and not separate.

    Thanks for letting me nerd out. Now I need a big salad for lunch!!

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