Seared Salmon Niçoise Salad

This salad is a lovely twist on the classic Provencal salad, and makes the perfect summer lunch. Soft and creamy bantam eggs marry perfectly with the crisp, fresh vegetables, rich fish and dressing. When bantam eggs are not in season, substitute with you Burford Browns, Old Cotswold Legbar or quail eggs.

Prep Time - 10 minutes Cook Time - 15 minutes Serves 2

Ingredients

4 bantam eggs
200g baby new potatoes, halved
100g fine green beans, trimmed and halved
100g asparagus tips
12 cherry tomatoes
4 tinned anchovy fillets
2 baby gem lettuce (or a mix of leaves like rocket and watercress)
12 red olives, pitted
4 skin-on salmon fillets (about 150g each)
Zest of 1 lemon
Salt and ground black pepper
A small punnet of mixed salad cress (optional)

For the salad dressing:

1 garlic clove, peeled
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon caper berries
2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
A small bunch of fresh herbs such as dill, parsley or chives, chopped

Method

Start by making the salad dressing. Place the garlic into a pestle and mortar with a pinch of salt, and bash until smooth. Stir in the mustard powder, vinegar and oil. Roughly chop the caper berries and stir into the pestle and mortar, along with the chopped shallots. Season to taste and then stir in the herbs and place to one side.

Bring a pan of water to the boil, then cook the eggs for 3-4 minutes – for soft-boiled. Remove the eggs from the pan and plunge into cold water. Refill the pan with water and bring to the boil again. Add the potatoes and cook for 4 minutes.

Add the asparagus and green beans to the pan of potatoes, bring back to the boil then cook for a further 5 minutes, or until the potatoes are just cooked through. Drain the vegetables, refresh with cold water, then tip into a large salad bowl with a drizzle of olive oil.

Slice the tomatoes in half and add to the salad bowl, along with the anchovy fillets. Click off the baby gem lettuce leaves and add these and the olives to the bowl.

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