Watercress, Beetroot, Walnut Salad with Soft-Boiled Egg

My friend Lawrence asked me this week for an easy thing to make as a starter for a dinner he was contributing to, and this is what I thought of. He said it went down very well, so I thought I’d take note of the recipe. I’m pretty sure it’s inspired by a memory of an (oversalted, but otherwise delicious) salad I once ate at the Magdalen Arms in Oxford, whose fantastic chefs set up there in late 2009, after cooking in London’s Anchor & Hope.

Serves Six as a starter

several large handfuls of watercress – enough for everyone to have a heap on their plate

3 tablespoons toasted, chopped walnuts (toast in pan on medium heat, taking care not to burn)

3 hen’s eggs (boiled for 6-7 minutes, so yolk still soft, but not falling apart when out of shell)

3 boiled beetroot, cut into chunks


1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

½ tablespoon crème fraîche

1 tablespoon red or white wine vinegar

¾ tablespoons olive oil

salt and pepper

How to make:

Whisk dressing ingredients together, taste for acidity –add more vinegar or oil in necessary. Toss watercress with dressing. Mix with chopped beetroot. Place in centre of plate. Sprinkle with walnuts, place ½ egg on top. Season egg with salt and pepper.

Eat with:

White wine, bread.


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