Spring has finally sprung! The garden is in full glorious bloom, the birds are singing their little hearts out and the kitchen is switching gears to produce lighter meals with spring flavors. To celebrate spring’s arrival, I made a gorgeous niçoise salad dressed with a citrusy Meyer lemon vinaigrette and served it with spice-rubbed salmon, grilled on a cedar plank. A Meyer lemon ricotta cake I featured last week made for a light springtime dessert. A simple fresh menu, all gluten free, complete with a centerpiece from my garden.
The niçoise salad was updated for spring with fresh peas, gorgeous purple new potatoes(Trader Joe’s) and a medley of heirloom tomatoes in multiple sizes with a Meyer lemon vinaigrette which was to die for.
I can’t call this is a recipe per se, but I will take you through the steps I took to create this spectacular salad bursting with layers and layers of flavor and texture. Feel free to substitute what you have on hand. Here is how to make it:
- scatter about 4 cups of wild arugula to line a large platter
- blanch and cool 1 pound of haricots verts, and divide in 4 bundles and place in the 4 corners of your tray, letting some hang over the edge
- 6 boiled eggs, peeled and halved, placed at both ends of the platter
- 1 12-oz jar of grilled marinated artichoke halves, drained; place these in front of the eggs
- 1 cup of fresh spring peas, blanched and cooled, seasoned with the zest of the Meyer lemon and sprinkled around the green beans
- 2 roasted red peppers, peeled, cut in strips, seasoned with fresh ground pepper and garlic; divide and place in front of the artichokes on both sides of the platter(how to roast your own, here)
- 6-8 small new potatoes, boiled in salted water, peeled and cut in bite size pieces; divide in 4 and set besides the green beans
- 4 cups of small heirloom tomatoes, cut in half, mounded on either side of the platter, besides the potatoes
- 1 15-oz can of white beans, drained and rinsed, seasoned with sea salt and crushed rosemary, set in the center of your platter
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onions, scattered over the top of the platter
- 1/4 cup of your favorite black olives, scattered over the top of the platter
Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette:
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1T spicy brown mustard
- 2 T honey
- sea salt to taste
Shake all ingredients together in a small jar and serve alongside the salad.This type of salad is best served with hinged tongs.
The salad accompanied a spice-rubbed cedar-planked grilled salmon fillet. The spice rub is one I make and use all year round. It adds a great smoky flavor to seafood or grilled meats without the need for BBQ sauces. The recipe can be found here.
Instructions on how to grill a cedar planked salmon fillet can be found here.
I hope this menu has inspired your spring entertaining!