Spring Luncheon: Niçoise Salad with Planked Salmon Fillet

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.


Colorful spring arrangement from my garden: red tulips, daffodils, leucojum, Virginia bluebells, pink hellebores, viburnum branches still in bud. Do you recognize the trellis bread basket standing in as a vase?


The table setting:  cream place mats and plates topped with antique trellis-edged salad plates with floral details and botanical motif napkins(Anthropologie). Mini ceramic urns hold breadsticks and flatbreads.


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.image image


Meyer Lemon Ricotta cake made with ground almonds was light and moist. Recipe here.

I hope this menu has inspired your spring entertaining!


31 thoughts on “Spring Luncheon: Niçoise Salad with Planked Salmon Fillet

  1. You really have an artistic flair when you put your tablescape together Johanne. Love all the flowers from your garden. Also love the nicoise salad with the planked salmon. I can almost taste all the flavors, what a burst of spring goodness!

    • I do tie the garden into most of my entertaining, Loretta and I had to laugh when I saw my pictures….the salad is color coordinated with the flowers…quite unintentially! Chanticleer is already so beautiful. Looking forward to having you visit!

      Johanne Lamarche


      • Yes, I’ve noticed Johanne. Quite lovely! I took your advice and some other bloggers advice too and jumped on board Instagram :). I think I’ve added you. I recall you telling me about a certain person you follow on Instagram and that I may like it too? We had our first field trip @ Groff Nursery 2 weeks ago. I’ll try to get Chanticleer on the calendar before it gets too hot. Guess what? One of the gardeners from Chanticleer is on the board @ Goodstay Gardens, he and his wife are organizing a garden party for us volunteers in a few weeks time. They are both horticulturalists, I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us. Will no doubt blog about it, I got her permission already 🙂

      • Congratulations Loretta! I will look for you on Instagram. Groffs was my mother-in-law’s favorite nursery. Reading your note made me nostalgic. We lost her 14 yrs ago almost to the day.

        The garden party sounds fabulous. Can’t wait to hear about it. I bribed a Chanticleer gardener with cookies once. Here’s the link. Maybe it’s the same horticulturalist. LOL.


        Hope to see you soon at Chanticleer although you may have a VIP guide for your group! Johanne

        Johanne Lamarche


  2. What a fancy entertaining that is, Johanne!!! With a beautiful centrepiece like this and the food and the setting, only one word I can say, WOW!!!! LOVE!!! You are such a Martha Stewarty 🙂

    • Hearing from you always brightens my day Pang! So nice of you to compliment the flowers and the menu. I can only imagine how your camera could have captured the images! You have such a gift.

      Johanne Lamarche


    • You caught me with my hands full of lemons Ginger! I even had a big bowl on my island and have a gardener’s scrub with….lemon….coming soon on the blog! I love lemon anything but it did cross my mind that maybe I had put too much in this menu!! No one complained. That cake was really delicious!

      Johanne Lamarche


    • Hi Mollie! I loved everything about this meal too and could eat it over and over and never tire of it. I think I hit every color imaginable in the salad veggies. I was so happy the purple potatoes stayed purple after cooking as many purple vegetables like cauliflower lose their color after cooking. Hope you are enjoying spring!

      Johanne Lamarche


  3. Pingback: 15 Salads For Summer | French Gardener Dishes

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