The Gannet: Warm Salad For A Warm Day

We have been having Summer in London this past week (well, apart from the day where it pelted down).  For those of you outside the UK, that means the temperature has climbed all the way up into the 80's and London has slowed down.  It's not so much that the 80's is so hot (sorry that's about 30 Celsius for those of you who have converted to the New Math) but that (a) we're in the city, and (b) the city has no air conditioning.  I think Harrod's might have air conditioning, but you have to ride on the tube where the temperature is just a few degrees above Hell to get there, so most of us don't bother.

Warm days of course mean wanting to spend less time in the kitchen, but as we're cutting down on our takeaways in this house, and we still want to eat, we have to do something.  This salad, though it does involve a bit of time near some hot pans, is pretty quick and painless and it was a big hit with Him Indoors, who said "that's my kind of salad, baby".  Meaning of course that the ratio of green stuff to bacon was acceptable for him.  It's inspired by a recipe from Olive magazine, though I took sufficient liberties so as to feel it's my intellectual property.

Ingredients  (Serves two gannets generously)

  • new potatoes 750gm (organic if possible)
  • eggs 4
  • pancetta 140gm (more or less is fine too)
  • olive oil 3 tbsp
  • mustard 1 tbsp (dijon or anything but bright yellow stuff)
  • red wine vinegar 3 tbsp
  • rocket 150gm (or watercress, pea shoots, anything you like)


If you can't bear to be in the kitchen for long (as I couldn't on this particular day), you can do this recipe very slowly in stages.  Wander off somewhere cool for a while then come back to it.  Only the last 5 steps need to be done just before eating, and they should take no more than 10 minutes altogether, so you won't wilt over the stove.

  • Boil the potatoes until just tender.
  • Boil the eggs for 5-7 minutes. Or if you are truly lazy and saving on washing up, just put the eggs in the same pot as the potatoes about 1 minute before they are done. Turn off the heat, scoop the potatoes out into a colander using a slotted spoon and leave the eggs to sit in the hot water for about minutes.
  • Once the potatoes have cooled (run them under cold water if you're in a hurry), slice them in half or in quarters lengthwise.
  • For the dressing (do this whenever you have 2 minutes to spare) mix the mustard, vinegar and olive oil together. Use the proportions that you find most pleasing, more vinegar if you like a tang, etc. I used a lovely "dragon's breath" mustard which was made with paprika, garlic and horseradish - yum.  Just what you like, but avoid bright yellow American mustard or English mustard of course.
  • Heat the pan and cook the pancetta until nice and crispy and brown.  Remove to a side dish temporarily.
  • Put the potatoes into the hot pancetta grease and fry until nicely brown (how brown is a matter of taste - I like golden for this salad, otherwise it becomes more like chips with salad dressing, which is a step too far even for me).
  • While the potatoes are cooking, peel the eggs and slice them in quarters.
  • When the potatoes are done, stir the pancetta back in for 30 seconds to warm it up.
  • Put the potatoes and pancetta into a big bowl along with the rocket and add the dressing.  Toss it all together and season to taste.
  • Plate it up and place the segments of egg on top.


Reprinted from my food blog, The Gannet.