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.