Thursday, April 30, 2009

Salmon Nicoise Salad Rolls--Barefoot on a Budget Challenge

An extra Thursday this month brings an extra optional Barefoot Bloggers challenge. This Barefoot on a Budget Challenge, is all about making one of Ina's recipes on a budget. As much as we all love Ina, I think everyone making her recipes each month has dropped a good hunk of dinero on the ingredients. Whether it is a special cheese, an obscure liqueur, lots of saffron, or all that butter, the list is pretty endless, pretty pricey, and often hard to find. The results are usually fabulous as Ina is a great cook, but for this challenge we voted to select one of Ina’s recipes to make a bit more economical and see if we can get "Barefoot results on a bare-bones budget." The winning recipe? Lobster Cobb Salad Rolls. 

Our mission is to take Ina's recipe and make it more budget-friendly. Changing the ingredients, the cooking method or even the format of the recipe; basically we are free to do anything as long as the end result somewhat resembles the original recipe. You can find Ina's recipe for the Lobster Cobb Salad Rolls on the Food Network website, here.

I decided to keep a seafood theme and also Ina's idea of taking a classic salad and making it into a sandwich, and of course I wanted to make my recipe healthy too, so I came up with Salmon Nicoise Salad Rolls. Nicoise salad is a speciality of the Nice region of France and typically contains green beans, new potatoes, tomatoes, olives, hard boiled egg, and tuna, among other things. I decided to use salmon, to boost the nutritional content and get some of those mighty Omega-3s. Because I wanted to pick the most simple and economical ingredients possible, I chose canned salmon. All of the ingredients are easy to find in most grocery stores or markets and are relatively inexpensive. It might seem a bit strange to have green beans and potatoes on a sandwich, but since my Coronation Chicken Salad with its chunks of potato and cucumber was so great as a sandwich, I thought it would be fun to try.

Salmon Nicoise Salad Rolls
by Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes 6-8 sandwiches)

For Vinaigrette
juice of 1 lemon
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil (plus extra for toasting rolls)
1 medium shallot, minced
1 Tbsp minced fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

6-8 of your favorite rolls (I used a multi-grain ciabatta roll)

For Salad:
8-10 small new potatoes (about 1-1 & 1/4 pounds), scrubbed 
1/2 lb green beans, cleaned, trimmed and cut into bite size pieces
1 7.5-ounce canned pink or wild salmon, drained 
8-10 cherry tomatoes 
1/2 cup olives, green or nicoise, pitted and quartered
2 Tbsp capers, rinsed and drained
2 Tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped coarsely
2 hard boiled eggs, peeled and sliced

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Whisk lemon juice, olive oil, shallot, thyme, and mustard in a small bowl; season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.

Split rolls, place on a baking sheet, brush or drizzle with olive oil and bake for 5-7 minutes, until lightly toasted.  Set aside

Bring potatoes and 3 quarts cold water to boil in a large pot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and cook until potatoes are tender, 7-10 minutes (depending on size of potato). Remove potatoes from water, (saving cooking water), drain and let cool. Quarter, or chop potatoes into bite-size chunks and set aside in a large bowl. Return potato cooking water to a boil and add green beans. Cook until tender but crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain beans, transfer to ice water for a few minutes, drain well and add to bowl with potatoes. Add salmon, tomatoes, olives, capers and parsley to the bowl and mix together gently. Add vinaigrette and lightly toss. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if needed.

Place 1/2 of toasted roll on a plate. Place a small mound of salad mixture on roll and garnish with 2-3 slices of egg and place top of roll on or beside. Serve.

Notes/Results: Good! I liked the combination of different flavors and textures in the sandwich and how the vinaigrette soaked into the nooks and crannies of the toasted ciabatta bread. Because everything is bite size, it is filling but not too heavy and it is pretty healthy too. The one drawback is that it is a bit messy, but you could easily serve it open-faced with a knife and fork if you wanted a bit more of an elegant presentation and to make it easier to eat. It was hard to get a good picture--I promise it looked better in person! I was not able to do a price comparison because frankly I couldn't find any lobster at three different grocery stores here to get a price. The canned wild Alaskan salmon I buy is about $5.00 for a 7.5-ounce can, which with the other ingredients, would easily make 6-8 good sized sandwiches and would be much less than the cost of the 1 & 1/2 pounds of lobster meat in Ina's sandwich. You can find less expensive salmon, I just used what I had on hand. I ate a couple of sandwiches and enjoyed the rest of the mix as a salad. I would make this again.

This was an interesting challenge and it was fun to re-work Ina's recipe into something different. You can see which other Barefoot Bloggers attempted this optional challenge by going to the BB site here.


  1. looks so good! I'd never thought to put salmon into a nicoise, great idea!

  2. So hungry.
    Please send sandwich.
    I love how it's little eggy eyes look up at me and say, "Eat Me!".
    A fabulous collection of flavours going on, very creative!

  3. I love the idea of this challenge. I like salmon better than tuna and lobster combined so I would choose your version over Ina's recipe anyday.

  4. Great job...this looks & sounds amazing!

  5. You've done a great job. Your beautiful photos have made me hungry.

  6. The green beans do look strange but so delicious! It's huge! I would love to wrap my mouth around that!

  7. I love nicoise salad, I think I'd love it even more in sandwich form! This looks amazing.

  8. I love what you did with this challenge, Deb! So colorful and delicious (and budget-friendly).

  9. Oh Deb, great job on this one! Very creative, I love how you picked nicoise salad! I was trying to think of something for this one but ended up with no ideas, cooking block maybe? Anyway, love your barefoot on a budget results :) I'm going to play along next month if we do the red pepper dish!

  10. What a great idea! This looks delicious. I'd never have thought to make a nicoise sandwich.

  11. yum! I had nicoise salad on my menu this week too, but that got messed up when the store was out of tuna.

  12. Deb, what a great way to revise this recipe! It looks so delicious. I love Ina, but at times I do feel I am cooking a solid gold meal (3 lbs. of boneless chicken breast and pearl onions for a chicken stew??). Thanks for sharing!

  13. This looks wonderful, I love your blend of textures.

  14. Looks yummy! I knew you'd find a good way to make it heart healthy too. I just love that about you!


  15. Wow, this looks amazing! More creative than the original.


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