Egg and fennel salad

Recipe from: 8 November 2010

Ingredients 22
Servings 6
Time 10 mins

Ingredients

  • 12
    eggs
  • 3
    small bulbs of fresh fennel
  • 2
    spring onions, very finely chopped, or a handful of snipped chives
  • A few sprigs from the top of the fennel
  • A few sprigs from the top of the fennel
  • For the dressing:
  • 1
    very small clove of garlic (or a third of a big clove)
  • 2
    small anchovy fillets, from a tin or bottle
  • 2
    tsp
    capers
  • pinch
    hot english mustard powder
  • pinch
    white sugar
  • Freshly milled pepper
  • 3
    Tbs
    freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 5
    Tbs
    extra virgin olive oil, or a mixture of olive oil and light vegetable oil
  • For the nasturtium mayonnaise:
  • 2
    large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1
    tsp
    flaky sea salt
  • 200
    ml
    light vegetable oil (such as sunflower or canola oil, or any other flavourless oil)
  • 100
    ml
    light vegetable oil (such as sunflower or canola oil, or any other flavourless oil)
  • 1
    cup
    loosely packed) fresh nasturtium leaves
  • The juice of a large lemon
  • Freshly milled black pepper
 

Method

20 mins
 
First make the dressing. Put the garlic, anchovies, capers, mustard powder and sugar into a mortar and grind to a rough paste. Stir in the lemon juice, and then whisk in the oils.  Season with pepper (but no salt, as the anchovy fillets are salty enough). Set aside and allow to stand for an hour. 

Now make the mayonnaise. Put the two egg yolks into a small bowl and add the salt. Mix the vegetable oil and olive oil in a small jug, or put them in a plastic squeezy bottle with a nozzle. Using a rotary beater or whisk, beat the egg yolks and salt for a minute.  Now, as you whisk the egg yolks with one hand, dribble a little splash of oil onto the yolks with the other hand.  Keep whisking and dribbling, a few drops at a time, until the mixture begins to thicken rather dramatically. Now add the rest of the oil in a steady stream, beating all the time until the mayonnaise is thick and creamy.

 Finely chop the nasturtium leaves and stir them into the mayonnaise along with the lemon juice. Season with pepper and more salt, if necessary.  Cover, set aside and allow to stand for an hour. 

Half an hour before serving the salad, hard-boil the eggs. It doesn't matter how you do this (every cook has their own theory about how to make and peel a perfect hard-boiled egg.

What does matter is that the white is firm, and that the yolks are just cooked through, with not a sign of glassiness.  Drain off the boiling water and run cold tap water over the eggs until they are just warm to the touch.  Set them aside for ten minutes.

In the meantime, prepare the fennel. Trim the stalks and leaves off the bulbs, and cut each one into quarters. Chip out the hard pulpy core at the centre of each quarter.  Using a mandolin or a very sharp knife, cut each quarter vertically into fine slices.

Peel the eggs and cut them length-ways  into quarters or eighths. Arrange the egg quarters and fennel slices on a flat salad platter.  Strain the dressing through a sieve or tea-strainer into a bowl, pressing down well with the back of a spoon to extract all the anchovy and caper flavours.  Drizzle just enough of the dressing over the salad to lightly coat the eggs and fennel. Scatter with the spring onions or chives. Finely chop a few of the fine, feathery fennel tops and sprinkle them over the salad. Decorate the platter with fresh nasturtium leaves and flowers. Serve immediately, with the nasturtium mayonnaise on the side.

Reprinted with the permission of "Scrumptious South Africa". Visit "Scrumptious South Africa" here for more recipes.
 

 

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