Make Ahead

Not-Quite Niçoise with Lime-Chive Cream

June  7, 2012
4 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 35 minutes
  • Cook time 10 minutes
  • Serves 4-6
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. 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. —creamtea

Test Kitchen Notes

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

What You'll Need
  • For the Salad
  • 1 1/4 pounds tiny creamer potatoes, trimmed
  • 3/4 pound French filet beans or regular green beans, stem end removed
  • 4 cups butter lettuce leaves, loosely packed, washed and spun dry
  • 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)
  • 3 ounces mild smoked salmon such as Scottish or Gaspe, sliced in ribbons, or one filet of smoked, peppered mackerel, flaked (about 3 oz.), as preferred
  • For the lime cream
  • 1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons crème fraîche
  • 1/2 lime, juiced and zested
  • 1 pinch fine sea salt to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon mild honey
  • 2 tablespoons minced chives
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  1. For the Salad
  2. 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
  3. Re-heat water to boiling point, add potatoes, reduce heat, and simmer until just tender. Drain and set aside to cool.
  4. Toss lettuces together and arrange on individual plates.
  5. Over lettuces, arrange remaining vegetables and eggs attractively, ending with smoked fish and shallots. Drizzle with li dressing and serve.
  1. For the lime cream
  2. Whisk crème fraîche, lime juice, zest, salt, and honey together until smooth. Add chives and whisk again to incorporate
  3. 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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • AntoniaJames
  • marynn
  • lapadia
  • EmilyC
  • savorthis

17 Reviews

AntoniaJames May 15, 2021
Gorgeous! Definitely on my must-make list . . . . perfect for summer! ;o)
creamtea May 15, 2021
Hope you try it, AJ. I will be making it early this week!
girlwithaknife August 8, 2015
Any ideas for substituting creme fraiche?
creamtea June 9, 2016
Sorry I missed this! I don't know of a good supermarket substitution, as good creme fraiche is so special. You could follow this recipe for Mexican crema from The Best of Fine Cooking Mexican Recipes: heat heavy cream in a small saucepan to c.95 degrees. Let it cool, then stir in 1 T buttermilk with with active cultures. Transfer to a clean glass jar. Cover loosely with the lid (don't tighten) and allow to sit in a warm place to thicken, 18-24 hours. I followed the above recipe for another purpose and thought it was pretty close.
SweetTooth January 22, 2015
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!!
marynn July 23, 2014
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.
creamtea July 23, 2014
hahaha it's a match made in heaven!
lapadia March 12, 2013
This is screaming for a festive occasion to go to!
creamtea March 14, 2013
Thanks, lapadia! There are some spring-y feasts coming up...
EmilyC October 26, 2012
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!)
creamtea November 8, 2012
Emily, thank you! I'm so pleased you remembered it and tried the dressing!
Pegeen July 1, 2012
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!
creamtea July 2, 2012
Thanks so much for trying my recipe and for the thoughtful comments. I'm so happy when someone tries one of my recipes.
AntoniaJames June 29, 2012
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)
creamtea July 2, 2012
AJ, thanks! If you make it, let me know what you think!
savorthis June 21, 2012
This is a perfect summer meal and could be so easily pulled together with leftovers too. Makes me miss Paris!
creamtea June 22, 2012
Thank you, savorthis!