Adapted from a salad that Ha Ha Canteen used to serve before they abandoned their ‘core concept’
This is possibly my favourite warm salad ever. I could eat this until the end of time it is just so good. Simple ingredients but a wow when combined. Showcasing the best of British Spring produce, with the asparagus and Jersey Royals. I love the creamy potato with a touch of butter, the fresh asparagus, the salty cheese and the runny yolk of the egg all silkily oozing over everything. It is just lush. I wait all year for this salad and then I eat it until I think I’ll never want it again, but then it’s over. For another whole year. And this year, with the weather being so odd, I’ve had to wait longer than usual for those Jersey Royals. But here they are. For reference purposes Ha Ha used to be a canteen style eatery and bar, overly expensive fried egg and chips, breakfast and the papers on a Sunday. They were astoundingly successful. But somewhere it went wrong. They changed to Ha Ha Bar & Grill and became a bad gastropub, serving reheated ready meals instead of the freshly cooked things they were so good at. Shame. Also for reference, if you’re in the (mostly) South/South-West of England and/or South Wales and you spot a Loungers bar, (they all have different names but my ‘locals’ are the Alto Lounge and the Bosco Lounge), you’ll find they’re resurrecting the old canteen style that Ha Ha used to do so well. So I hope you enjoy this warm salad as much as I do. It’s an oldy but a goody.
Jersey Royal, asparagus and poached egg salad
Prep time 5 minutes Cook time 30 minutes Makes 2 (adult) servings
- 300g Jersey Royal potatoes, cleaned
- bunch of asparagus, woody stems removed
- 2 large, very fresh eggs
- splash of white wine vinegar (optional depending on your poaching method)
- parmesan or vegetarian hard Italian cheese, shaved into strips
- salt and pepper
Boil the potatoes in a pan of water (to which you have a fitting steamer basket) until tender (around 20 minutes depending on size – I grade my into categories and boil them whole, adding smaller ones closer to the finish time). Depending on the thickness of your asparagus, 5-10 minutes before your potatoes are ready, steam the asparagus over the potatoes. In the meantime prepare a separate pan to poach the eggs. Add a splash of white wine vinegar to the pan and wait until you see small bubbles popping onto the surface. Turn the heat to very low. Break your eggs into a small jug and slip gently into the water just before your potatoes and asparagus are due to be ready. These eggs will take around 4-6 minutes while you plate up the rest of the salad. So when the potatoes are cooked, drain well and place back in the hot pan, with the asparagus, and stand back on the hot hob (with the heat off). This will steam off any residual liquid. Add a small knob of butter to the pan and swirl around to melt it and coat the vegetables. Check the eggs and remove using a slotted spoon to a plate if the white is set and the yolk still runny. Divide the potatoes and asparagus between the bowls. Now check your eggs if they are still in the water to make sure the white is set, then remove with a slotted spoon and place on the pile of vegetables. Shave slices of cheese over the salad, (I use a vegetable peeler), season with salt and pepper (bearing in mind how salty the cheese is already) and serve.