This salad was the first thing taught to me by the legendary Jeremy Lee - famed for his British cooking and focus on seasonal produce. I will never forget my first steps into the Quo Vadis kitchen on Dean Street in Soho, nor this salad.
The combination of beetroot, eggs, and mustard cream (all of which can be prepared in advance) with fresh crunchy leaves is a combination made in heaven.
Among many other things, Jeremy taught me that to present a bright, fresh and crunchy green salad is a sure sign of the care that a cook has put into all other produce that will follow during the meal.
- 3 beetroots
- 2 handfuls of salad leaves
- 2 or 4 eggs
- 4 tbsp double cream
- 2 heaped tsp Dijon Mustard
- 2 tsp Cider Vinegar
- 1 tsp Sugar
- Extra Virgin Rapeseed or Olive Oil
- Small bunch of Parsley, finely chopped
Boil your Beetroots. Place your beetroots into a saucepan of cold water and gently bring to the boil. Simmer for 30 mins and then begin checking for tenderness every 5 mins. Once a small knife or cake tester pushes through the largest beetroot without resistance, remove from the heat, drain the water and allow the beetroots to cool in the empty saucepan with the lid on. This will steam the beetroots a little and make the skins easier to peel.
Once cool enough to handle, push the beetroot skins away from the flesh with your thumbs and discard the skins. Slice each beetroot into 4-6 wedges, dress with a little oil and salt then set aside. The beetroots will keep like this in a sealed container for a few days if needed.
Soft boil eggs. Place a small saucepan of water on the heat and bring to the boil. Carefully add your (preferably room temperature) eggs gently to the water and start a 6 minute timer. After 6 minutes, rinse the eggs under cold water for one minute to stop the cooking then peel, half with a knife and set aside. One egg per person for a light lunch, or two each for a main meal.
Mustard Cream. To make the mustard cream, dissolve the sugar in the cider vinegar by stirring with a spoon. Once dissolved, stir in the dijon mustard followed by the cream. Be careful not to stir the cream in too much as it will begin to thicken. (If this happens just add a small splash of water).
- Put it all together. Now you simply need to put it all together when it’s time to eat. Arrange your leaves on the plate, toss your beetroots in their oil before arranging them amongst your leaves, nestle your halved eggs in and amongst, then add a generous spoonful of your mustard cream before finally adding a good pinch of chopped parsley.
Dairy-free alternative: Make a simple mustard vinaigrette by mixing one part dijon mustard, one part cider vinegar, two parts extra virgin rapeseed or olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper in a jam jar and shake to combine. Use this to dress your salad leaves before plating everything together.
Vegan alternative: Use the vinaigrette above and your chopped parsley to dress a handful of cooked white beans. If cooking the beans from dried beans, allow them to cool fully before plating your salad.