A gorgeous warm summer salad. It’s packed with bacon, new potatoes, fresh tender asparagus and crisp Florette salad leaves. Dressed with a sharp, tangy mustard dressing and finished with soft centred eggs, this is a recipe that deserves to be a summer staple!
It’s no secret I love cake. I love chocolate, and cookies. I love bread slathered in salted butter, and hot flaky pastry. It turns out though, as one of the great cruel jokes of life, that these things aren’t really so great for us. No, surviving on a steady diet of sugar and cake just isn’t possible. Sigh.
Moderation, then, as we are so frequently told, is the key to a healthy life style. Have you cake, just don’t have it all of the time. This seems like fair advice. I try and counter my sugar consumption with lots of exercise. I drag myself out of bed for early morning spinning classes before work, I run the occasional (very slow!) half marathon and, in the week, I try and eat a little healthier too. I pack my diet full of veggies, protein and good fats, so when, at the weekend, I tuck into a huge slab of chocolate cake, I don’t feel quite so guilty!
Getting the goodness in really doesn’t need to be a chore though. Cake is, of course, delicious, but fresh crisp vegetables and salads are some of my favourite things to eat too. As a child I would always happily polish off seconds of any vegetable put on my plate, and this is still true today. When the warmer weather comes around there are few things more inviting than a colourful, vibrant salad. Crisp leaves, freshly dressed, colours and flavours singing.
This salad is my contribution to Florette’s collection of Summer Salad Recipes. It combines some of my favourite flavours: bacon, asparagus and whole grain mustard. It’s packed full of taste, freshness, and texture.
Texture, I think, is a very important component to any good salad. This is where poor salads fail. Limp, dull leaves really aren’t exciting are they? Salads should be an excuse to show off a variety of textures and flavours, discovering new things which each fork full.
This salad has texture and excitement in spades. You’ve got the crispy bacon with its salty, savoury depth. The tender seasonal asparagus still retains a little of its bite and snap. Can we just take a moment to appreciate the beauty of that vivid green? The eggs bring an indulgent richness, their bright yellow yolks oozing and soft. The salad leaves themselves are not just a base, but bring plenty of texture, interest and sharp peppery taste. The mixed florette bag is the perfect combination of crunchy leaves to provide body to the salad, and curly leaves to catch all the delicious dressing.
Its a beautifully inviting combination of Iceberg, Radicchio and Frisee. The Radicchio gives that stunning reddy-purple colour, and adds a crunch and a spice to the salad. The frisee leaves give those beautiful curls, and are robust enough to stand up to the hot ingredients without withering.
The light, summery tastes conceal the fact that this is a wonderfully robust salad. It will fill you up and leave you completely satisfied. The potatoes bring carbohydrates; the eggs and bacon give protein which helps to keep you full. If you wanted to make the salad lighter, switch the bacon for cooked chicken. Salmon would work really well too. Personally though I just love the salty bacon paired with the asparagus.
This salad is so simple to throw together, making it the perfect week night supper, or lazy weekend lunch. The recipe makes enough to serve 2 generously as a main meal, or 4 as a side. The dressing is delicious and incredibly moreish, but wonderfully simple. It’s made in the bowl with the hot potatoes, their warmth helping to bring everything together. It saves on extra washing up too; I’ll do anything to avoid washing unnecessary pots!
– the salad is also really delicious served cold. If you do plan to serve it cold though, you can make it ahead up to the point of adding the salad. Cook and dress the potatoes, bacon and asparagus and let it cool. Just before serving toss through the salad leaves. This will stop the salad leaves from wilting.
– I boiled my eggs for 5 minutes to make them just on the harder side of soft boiled. If you like cook them longer and serve them hard boiled.
- 300g baby new potatoes
- 100g asparagus
- 4 rashes of smoked back bacon
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- half a bag mixed florette salad
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Half the potatoes and place in a pan of slightly salted water.Bring to the boil, then simmer until tender. Drain, put into a large dish and set aside.
- Slice your bacon into small pieces, then add to a hot frying pan, turning occasionally, until cooked through and crispy. Add to the bowl with the potatoes.
- Trim any woody ends from your asparagus. Take another pan, fill with water and bring to the boil. Drop in the asparagus and cook for about 3 minutes, until just tender.
- Put the eggs into a pan of cold water, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes for soft boiled eggs. Meanwhile, dress your potatoes.
- Add the mustard, lemon juice, olive oil and white wine vinegar into the bowl with the potatoes and bacon. Stir everything until the potatoes are evenly covered. Add the cooked asparagus and gently stir through. Finally, add your salad leaves and toss to dress the leaves. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Put the dress salad into the bowl or bowls you plan to serve it in.
- Once your eggs have cooked, carefully shell them and slice in half. Carefully sit on top of your salad. Finish with a little more freshly ground black pepper.