Wild garlic salad with poached egg


If you’ve walked in woodland, especially along river banks, in the last few weeks and seen some bluebells, you’ve probably experienced the smell of wild garlic in the air. It’s the leaves, as well as the flowers, that we tend to use rather than the bulbs which are much smaller than with normal garlic. It’s not difficult to find and you can’t mistake it. Lots of it grows together and it’s got green leaves that are about six inches long that grow in clusters straight from the ground. And if you’re in any doubt, pick a leaf, crunch it in your hand and put it to your nose. If it smells of garlic, it’s wild garlic. It’s that obvious.
It’s got a similar taste to domestic garlic but milder without the bitter taste and can be eaten raw or cooked like spinach. Just make sure it’s very well washed and, if using with a dressing, well drained.
We’ve frequently use it on our menu to flavour a salad which makes for a lovely quick lunch or supper dish and is a timely reminder that Summer’s on its way.
Serves one
One fresh free-range egg
A handful of mixed salad leaves – torn
A handful of wild garlic leaves – torn
A couple of teaspoons of vinaigrette
A slice of bread – cut into cubes
Rapeseed oil
Sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 200°C (gas mark 6)
Toss the cubes of bread in a little rapeseed oil and salt and pepper. Spread them out on a baking tray and bake in the oven for five to ten minutes until golden brown.
Meanwhile, bring a medium saucepan of water to the boil and add a little salt. Break the egg into a cup. Using a large spoon, swirl the water in the pan until you’ve got a whirlpool. While it’s still spinning, pour the egg into the middle and turn the heat very low. Place a lid on the pan and leave to cook for three minutes after which you should have a runny yoke with the white set all around it.
During the three minutes cooking time, place the salad leaves and wild garlic into a bowl, spoon aver the vinaigrette and toss.
To serve, pile the dressed salad onto a plate, scatter the still-hot croutons over and around and, using a slotted spoon, lift the egg from the water, rest on a kitchen towel to remove excess water and then place on the top of the salad leaves.

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