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I just remembered when I first had this type of salad. I was visiting Lindsey, Moishe and Amelia, and we grabbed some to-go lunch right when I arrived on a gorgeous Seattle summer day. We walked to a patio by a bike path, a bridge, and the ocean and ate and caught up on just about everything as we ate. My nicoise salad was perfect: green, fresh, so many different things, tons of flavors, a tart, lemony dressing. I resolved then and there to order this same salad anytime I saw it again on a menu. I haven't really seen it often since then, so I started wondering: how could we make this vegetarian at home?
We took inspiration for this recipe from our friend Jennifer Chandler's Simply Grilling book. The book is beautiful (J. shot the photos!), and it's full of grilling inspiration. We switched out the tuna with artichokes, added some green lentils, and kept the balance of the salad pretty classic. Serve it rustic on a big platter and let folks serve themselves, or make petite pretty salads with a smaller chop, your choice.
Place the artichoke, lemon, and quartered new potatoes into the boiling water for 15 minutes. Remove artichokes and potatoes to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. The "choke" should be easy to remove by tugging on the hairy-looking part just above the heart now that the artichokes are cooked through.
Lower the eggs into the boiling water for exactly 8 minutes and then remove to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. (8 minutes will give you a custardy yolk, which I like.) Cook them for 10 minutes to achieve a solid center. Slice eggs in quarters or slices.
Arrange a few leaves of butter lettuce in the center of a plate. Arrange the components any way you like. This can be a rustic salad or a very composed plate. It's up to you. Drizzle the whole thing with Thyme and Tarragon Dressing and season with Maldon sea salt and cracked black pepper.
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper (to taste)
Into a medium bowl place the mustard, lemon, and honey. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking to emulsify the dressing. Stir in the thyme, tarragon, shallot, salt, and pepper.