Prior to the launch of her second cookbook 'A Girl and Her Greens', chef of The Spotted Pig and author of 'A Girl and Her Pig' April Bloomfield shares her recipe for a satisfying vegetarian sandwich with us.
"When I was a girl, my family practically lived on salad sandwiches come summer, when it was steamy outside and the last thing my mom wanted to do was hunch over a hot stove," explains Chef Bloomfield. "The salad sandwich is just what it sounds like: bread piled with veg like tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, and onion. My mum would add spring onions from her garden and slather the bread with butter and Heinz Salad Cream. The ones I make today aren’t much different, though I typically make my own version of salad cream and might occasionally add boiled eggs with oozy yolks or use goat cheese butter. Sometimes I’ll even bake my own white bread. But really, the little details are up to you."
4 large eggs
1 pound tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 medium crunchy cucumber with minimal seeds, thinly sliced
12 or so rings red onion (preferably young onion)
A few glugs extra-virgin olive oil
Maldon or another flaky sea salt
1/2 pound Little Gem lettuce (about 2 heads) or another crunchy lettuce, root end and floppy outer leaves discarded, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
Eight 3/4-inch-thick slices Pullman loaf white bread
A few knobs butter, at room temperature
About 8 tablespoons Salad Cream
Fill a medium pot at least halfway with water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Use a slotted spoon to gently add the eggs to the water and cook them for 7 minutes (set a timer), then run them under cold water until they’re fully cool. Lightly tap each egg against the counter to crack the shell all over, then carefully peel them. Slice them however you’d like just before you add them to the sandwich.
Lay the tomato, cucumber, and onion in more or less one layer on a large platter or cutting board. Squeeze a little lemon juice over the veg, then add a good drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Flip them over and rub them gently, just to make sure they’re all seasoned.
Spread each slice of bread with butter. Layer the tomato, cucumber, onion, lettuce, salad cream, and eggs on 4 slices of bread: I like to start with the tomatoes, then lettuce, then a good old slather of salad cream, then the eggs, the cucumber, and finally the onion. Top with the remaining bread and give each sandwich a firm but gentle press with your palm. Eat straightaway.
This creamy, tangy dressing is meant to mimic the jarred salad cream I grew up with in England, which I poured all over raw vegetables. I realize now that it’s a lot like a really liquidy version of the deviled egg filling I make at The Spotted Pig, with a little tarragon thrown in. If you’re making this for Salad Sandwiches, you might want to give some of the boiled egg whites a good old chop and pile them on the bread along with the soft-boiled eggs. No point in wasting.
6 large eggs
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon
1 very small garlic clove, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon Maldon or another flaky sea salt
A small handful of tarragon leaves, roughly chopped
Fill a medium pot at least halfway with water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Use a slotted spoon to gently add the eggs to the water, cook them for 10 minutes (set a timer), then run them under cold water until they’re fully cool. Lightly tap each egg against the counter to crack the shell all over, then peel them, halve them lengthwise, and pop out the yolks. (Reserve the whites for another purpose, like Salad Sandwiches, or for nibbling.)
Use the back of a spoon to force the yolks through a mesh sieve into a food processor. Add the oil, cream, vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt, and 2 teaspoons water and process until very smooth and creamy. Add the tarragon and process briefly. It keeps in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
A Girl and Her Greens will be released April 21 by Ecco.