Winter Niçoise Salad
with Cashew–Split Pea Pâté
A salad is a welcome respite after eating stews and soups all winter. Making it a composed salad of winter produce, prettily arranged on a family-style platter, gives it special appeal. Here, sliced fennel and blood oranges pair beautifully with typical Niçoise-salad veggies: potatoes, green beans, and romaine. Chopping the olives and adding them to the dressing gives every bite a salty, briny punch. Cashew and yellow pea pâté, flavored with herbes de Provence, rounds out the meal perfectly.
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- 2/3 cup raw cashew pieces
- 2/3 cup yellow split peas
- 1 pound red potatoes
- 8 ounces green beans
- 1 cup pitted kalamata olives
- Fresh thyme
- 8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil*
- 4 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- 2 romaine hearts
- 4 blood oranges
- 2 fennel bulbs
- 4 slices 7-grain bread
- 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
- *not included
- **one head of garlic included in one of the meal bags
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Chop the cashews and put them in a medium saucepan. Cover with water by 2 inches, add a pinch of salt, and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat so the water bubbles steadily, cover, and cook for 10 minutes. Add the split peas, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally until they’re tender, 25 to 30 minutes more.
Scrub and trim the potatoes. Put them in a medium saucepan with enough water to cover by 2 inches and a large pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat so the water bubbles steadily and cook, stirring once, until they’re barely fork-tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse and trim the green beans. When the potatoes are ready, add the beans and cook until they’re bright green, 2 or 3 minutes. Drain the vegetables and rinse with cold water until they’re cool to the touch.
Meanwhile, chop the olives and peel and chop enough garlic to measure 1 1/2 teaspoons. Rinse the thyme; chop the leaves and discard the stems. Put the olives, garlic, and thyme in a medium bowl with 6 tablespoons oil, 4 tablespoons vinegar, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper and stir to combine. Rinse, trim, and dry the romaine; tear it into bite-size pieces and spread them out on a platter. Rinse and peel the oranges; rinse, trim, halve, and core the fennel. Slice the oranges and fennel and put them on top of the lettuce.
Toast the bread until it’s firm and halve it diagonally. Quarter the potatoes and put them on top of the lettuce with the beans.
When the cashews and peas are tender, drain them thoroughly, reserving the liquid. Return them to the pot, add the herbes de Provence, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and 2 teaspoons vinegar. Mash with a fork until the mixture is as smooth as you’d like, adding some cooking liquid as needed. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Drizzle the salad with the dressing and serve with the cashew pâté and croutons.