Melissa Hemsley's Niçoise Salad with Fried Chickpeas
Don’t mess with a classic? Sorry Niçoise, I have. This salad has all the best bits of the Niçoise plus extras and it always goes down well at a party as a sharing main. The chickpeas and lentils make this super satisfying, but feel free to swap in any beans in place of the chickpeas. If I don’t have radishes or cucumber, I sometimes add celery or apple for the crunch, which makes it a bit of a Waldorf/Niçoise hybrid. If you have any tomatoes or peppers, chop them in too or do a mix of asparagus or broccoli with the green beans.
|1 tbsp||oil or ghee|
|480g||cooked chickpeas (2 x 400g tins, drained and rinsed)|
|400g||green beans, topped but not tailed|
|1 big handful||pitted olives|
|1 small tin||anchovies, 4 sun-dried tomatoes or extra olives and capers|
|2 handfuls||sliced radishes or cucumber|
|1 big handful||chopped fresh parsley|
|1 big handful||chopped chives or spring onions or 1 red onion, thinly sliced|
|6 handfuls||salad leaves – I like a mix of leafy ones like watercress and then firmer leaves like little gem|
|240g||cooked beluga or Puy lentils (1 x 400g tin, drained and rinsed)|
|sea salt and black pepper|
|For the dressing:|
|1 tsp||Dijon mustard|
|2 tsp||raw honey or maple syrup|
|3 tbsp||apple cider vinegar or lemon juice|
|7 tbsp||extra virgin olive oil|
In a medium saucepan, cook the eggs for 7 minutes in strongly simmering salted water, then cool immediately in a bowl of iced water. When cool enough to handle, peel, half and season.
Meanwhile, add the oil or ghee to a large frying pan with salt, pepper and the chickpeas. Fry them over a medium heat for about 6 minutes until crispy, stirring halfway through, then set aside.
While the cooked eggs are cooling, put the egg saucepan back on the heat and steam the green beans in about half a mug of salted water with the lid on for 4–5 minutes until just tender and not squeaky sounding when you bite into them.
Whisk the dressing ingredients and some seasoning together in a bowl.
Assemble the salad by adding everything to a large platter. Drizzle the dressing over and toss everything together to coat or leave as is for everyone to help themselves.
Flexi swap: Vegans can leave out the eggs and it will still be a hearty and satisfying salad. Meat eaters could swap 300g cooked shredded chicken or fish for the feta.