Not-Quite Niçoise with Lime-Chive Cream

By • June 7, 2012 14 Comments

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Author Notes: My passion for crème fraîche is a little like Lorelei Lee's for diamonds: I just love finding new foods it can dress up. Here, whisked with lime, chives and honey, it makes the oxycontin of salad dressings: you just can't stop taking it.
This recipe was submitted in answer to the "Your Best use of Meat as a Flavoring" challenge. OK, it is fish, not meat, but you'll get your minimum daily protein requirement. Instead of the usual tuna, I used a bit of smoked fish: delicate smoked salmon for a gentle embrace, or mackerel for when you are up to a punch of flavor. Both are good. If, like me, you become an addict of the lime-chive cream, you could try it with potato salad or, thickened, as a dip for crudités.

Food52 Review: What a wonderful way to celebrate the freshness of summer vegetables on a hot summer evening. But to be honest, the true star of this dish is the dressing. The combination of crème fraiche, lime and chives elevates this hearty and delicious salad to a new level, and makes a delightfully happy marriage with smoked salmon. Cook the beans, potatoes and eggs in the morning, and make the dressing. Everything else can be quickly prepped and assembled just before you’re ready to eat. But, trust me, you’ll want to double or triple the dressing recipe. It’s that good. TheWimpyVegetarian

Serves 4-6

For the Salad

  • 1 1/4 pounds tiny creamer potatoes, trimmed
  • 3/4 pound French filet beans or regular green beans, stem end removed
  • About 4 cups butter lettuce leaves, loosely packed, washed and spun dry
  • About 2 cups baby spinach leaves, washed and spun dry
  • 2 pointed sweet red peppers (or 1 large red bell pepper), quartered lengthwise and sliced crosswise
  • 3 Persian cucumbers, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise
  • 3 ripe, red-brown or other flavorful tomatoes, cored and sliced into wedges
  • 4 hard-cooked eggs, halved
  • 1 clove from a head of shallot, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, cut into thin wedges (optional, but good)
  • about 3 oz of mild smoked salmon such as Scottish or Gaspe, sliced in ribbons, or one filet of smoked, peppered mackerel, flaked (about 3 oz.), as preferred
  1. Bring a medium pot of water, seasoned with salt, to the boil, and add the beans. Cover and turn off heat. After about 3 minutes, beans should be crisp-tender. Remove with tongs or slotted spoon to a bowl, rinse with cold water to refresh, drain, and set aside
  2. Re-heat water to boiling point, add potatoes, reduce heat, and simmer until just tender. Drain and set aside to cool.
  3. Toss lettuces together and arrange on individual plates.
  4. Over lettuces, arrange remaining vegetables and eggs prettily and as your whim dictates, ending with smoked fish and shallots. Drizzle with lime cream dressing and serve.

For the lime cream

  • 1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons crème fraîche
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • zest of 1 lime
  • fine sea salt to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon mild honey
  • 2 tablespoons minced chives
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  1. Whisk crème fraîche, lime juice, zest, salt, and honey together until smooth. Add chives and whisk again to incorporate
  2. While whisking, add olive oil in a thin stream until blended. Drizzle over individual salads. Note: if increasing, taste for seasoning as it should be tart but not too tart and may require adjustment.

More Great Recipes: Green Beans|Salmon|Vegetables|Entrees|Salads

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Comments (14) Questions (0)


23 days ago girlwithaknife

Any ideas for substituting creme fraiche?


7 months ago SweetTooth

I finally got around to making this and it was amazing!!! When I made the dressing, I doubled it, but only put in the zest of one lime (since that's what I had). It was still absolutely delicious though- sweet and tangy and wonderful! I had this with leftover tuna and it was just spectacular. Great recipe!!


about 1 year ago marynn

Dearest creamtea, is it too bold of me to declare my undying love for you in front of the whole (Foods/food52) world?

I blame this dressing.

And I agree; a festive occasion befits this melange. Freshly dug white potatoes still warmish from their simmer, tender-crisp fresh green beans, just hard cooked egg...

And this dressing.


about 1 year ago creamtea

hahaha it's a match made in heaven!


over 2 years ago lapadia

This is screaming for a festive occasion to go to!


over 2 years ago creamtea

Thanks, lapadia! There are some spring-y feasts coming up...


almost 3 years ago EmilyC

This dressing is fantastic! I went to make a bibb lettuce salad the other night and remembered this dressing. It and the buttermilk dressing from your sweet corn salad are both superb. I just love simple yet special recipes like these that elevate everyday fare. (And I do plan to make this entire salad sometime -- looks delicious!)


almost 3 years ago creamtea

Emily, thank you! I'm so pleased you remembered it and tried the dressing!


about 3 years ago Pegeen

Pegeen is a trusted home cook.

Creamtea, this was muy delicioso. Just great fresh veggies but then the great surprise zing from the dressing. I sense a tsunami of creme fraiche coming into my life. Thank you!


about 3 years ago creamtea

Thanks so much for trying my recipe and for the thoughtful comments. I'm so happy when someone tries one of my recipes.


about 3 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Oh my! That dressing does look terrific. And creamtea, after reading a week's worth of recipe-writing Pearls of Wisdom, I must say that this one is up there with the best of them. Really nicely done, in all respects! Now, I'm off to start making a batch of creme fraiche . . . . ;o)


about 3 years ago creamtea

AJ, thanks! If you make it, let me know what you think!


about 3 years ago savorthis

This is a perfect summer meal and could be so easily pulled together with leftovers too. Makes me miss Paris!


about 3 years ago creamtea

Thank you, savorthis!