Coddled Egg & Anchovy Salad

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This is how my friend Jo makes her salad. She is an exceptional cook, full of enthusiasm and fun. She says she also likes this dressing with warm asparagus, broad beans and peas. I find it also goes well with olives and fresh raw vegetables for dunking into the sauce, or just with a plain steak and some fat chips for dipping. This will make a couple of cups of dressing that you can use as you like.

Ingredients

Dressing

  • 2 soft rosemary sprigs, rinsed
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • about 8 oil-packed anchovy fillets, drained and chopped
  • 1 heaped tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 90 ml (3 fl oz) vegetable oil
  • 90 ml (3 fl oz) olive oil
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature

Salad

  • 1 fennel bulb, halved and very finely sliced
  • about 100 g (3½ oz) radicchio or trevise, torn into large chunks
  • about 250 g (9 oz) firm inner lettuce leaves
  • 2 celery stalks, finely sliced

Method

Bring about 750 ml (3 cups) of salted water to the boil and dunk the rosemary and garlic in the water a few times to soften them slightly. Strip the rosemary leaves off the stem and chop very finely with the garlic. Put in a bowl.

Whisk in the anchovies, mustard and lemon juice, a few grindings of black pepper and a little of each of the oils. Whisk well until it all comes together, a bit like mayonnaise.

Meanwhile, lower the eggs into the boiling water and boil for 3 minutes. (To be perfect, all of the white and a fine layer of yolk should be set; the rest of the yolk should be soft.) Rinse under cold water until cool enough to peel. Add to the dressing, whisking to break the eggs into small bits. Add the rest of the oil, whisking continuously until completely combined. Whisk in a teaspoonful of warm water to finish the dressing.

Put all the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Splash the dressing over the top, tossing well so that all the leaves carry a heavy coat of dressing, and serve immediately.