I’ve been eating out quite a lot recently and something really annoying has started to happen on menus across the land.
Warm asparagus salad with poached hens egg… Spiced aubergine pilaf with poached hens egg… Sweet potato and harrissa hash topped with a poached HENS EGG… “Oooh a poached hens egg, how exotic, I’ll have that please.” AGHHHHHH!
A hens egg is surely just an egg. News flash, chickens are hens, well female ones are and as we all know, only female chickens (i.e. hens) can lay eggs. Silently and pretentiously, the hens egg seems to have swept onto menus across the capital without anyone even noticing. Where have we all been?!
So next time you see it on the menu, ask for just a regular egg and see what happens. “Oh, is a hens egg just a regular egg? Then why doesn’t it just say that?” You utter politely before picking up your table and throwing it across the room. On that note lets move swiftly on to my salad Niçoise with boiled ‘hens’ egg (okay I’ll stop it now).
Salad Niçoise originated in the French city of Nice and is traditionally made up of a mixture of Niçoise olives, anchovies, tomatoes and hard boiled eggs. I was surprised to learn that a traditional Niçoise salad doesn’t include tuna, french beans or even potatoes but I guess every recipes it subject to interpretation. However, I’ve included french beans and potatoes in mine because it’s just not a Niçoise salad without them in my opinion. I’ve also substituted the anchovies for a tangy black olive and lemon dressing to give it the salty zing without the fish. Bon appétit.
Veggie Salad Niçoise
Serves a generous 2 / Takes 30 – 35 mins total
You’ll need: A pestle and mortar
1 cos lettuce
1 handful of pitted black olives
100g French beans
300g new potatoes/Jersey royals
4 ripe tomatoes cut into eights
1/4 cucumber, peeled and chopped
Handful of basil torn
Juice of half a lemon
Salt and pepper
Small handful of basil leaves
60g black olives
Juice of half a lemon
1 medium garlic clove, peeled
1 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper
1. Start by putting 3 eggs in a small saucepan and cover with boiling water. Boil for seven minutes. Once boiled drain and cover in cold water and put to one side.
2. Cut the larger new potatoes in half but leave the small ones whole. Put in a large saucepan and cover with boiling water and season the water with salt. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, make your dressing by putting 60g of pitted black olives in your pestle and mortar along with a peeled garlic clove, a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, a teaspoon of red wine vinegar, small handful of basil leaves, the juice of half a lemon and season with salt and pepper. Being careful not to splash yourself too much, bash it all together until you have a rough paste.
4. Cut your tomatoes into eights and peel and chop your cucumber. Put in a large bowl along with a handful of torn basil, a handful of pitted black olives and season with salt and pepper.
5. By now your potatoes should be cooked but don’t remove them from the heat just yet. Add the trimmed french beans to the pan and cook for a further 5 minutes. Drain the potatoes and beans and cover in a stream of cold water to prevent them from cooking further. Leave to drain.
6. Line a large salad bowl with cos lettuce and peel your eggs. Slice into quarters and put to one side. Tip the warm potatoes and the beans into the bowl along with the rest of the salad mixture and top with the dressing. Give it a good stir and tip the whole lot on top of the lettuce.
7. Place the sliced eggs on top, squeeze over the other half of the lemon, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
If you’ve had a go at making my salad or any of my recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale firstname.lastname@example.org