I love a good niçoise salad, though they’re hard to find. Either the potatoes are too dry, or the tuna is overcooked, or the green beans are overcooked, or something. I realized that I could make my own version very easily, without the tuna altogether (or the olives, hence the no-niçoise part), and with perfectly cooked green beans. How about that!

I also made my own aioli.

Let me explain. Aioli technically does not need to be involved in a salad, niçoise or otherwise. But the idea for this green salad came a little backwards, in that it started with an idea for potato salad. I boiled some red baby potatoes until nice and tender, smashed them up a bit, and coated them generously with homemade, garlicky, lemony aioli. They needed some greenery so I thought: what about that farmer’s market spinach I bought? And some french beans? And….an egg?

So I hard boiled a few eggs, blanched the green beans until juuuust tender, and shaved some parmesan. I made a lemon-mustard vinaigrette (juice of one small lemon, a teaspoon of grainy mustard, a small grated garlic clove, 4T (ish) of olive oil, salt & pepper)  to drizzle over the whole thing. No dry potatoes here! YUM.

Garlic aioli
1 egg yolk
8 oz. light, fruity olive oil
1 clove of garlic, pummeled in a mortar & pestle (or grated on a microplane)
juice of 1/2 a lemon
salt to taste

In a large bowl, add your egg yolk, garlic, and a few drops of water. Whisk well. Start adding olive oil, literally a drop at a time, and whisking vigorously. It helps to have a partner helping. Once it starts to lighten in color and thicken, you can add the oil faster. One yolk will take about a cup of oil easily (scary). Just keep going. If it’s too stiff and tight, add a few more drops of water. Finish with the lemon juice and taste for salt. And before you know it: garlic aioli!