- 2¾ cups (125 g) lamb's lettuce (mâche)
- 2 heads witlof (Belgian endive), about 170 g in total
- ¼ cup (15 g) snipped fresh chives
- 750 g asparagus
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- 12 quail eggs
- 50 g parmesan, cut into fine shavings
- Mustard vinaigrette
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- ½ teaspoon wholegrain mustard
- salt and pepper
- Break up any large bunches of lamb’s lettuce, then put into a mixing bowl.
- Thinly slice the witlof on the diagonal, discarding the last 1 cm of the base.
- Add to the lamb’s lettuce together with the chives and toss together.
- Set aside.
- Put all the ingredients for the dressing in a screw–top jar and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Shake together to mix.
- Steam the asparagus for about 4 minutes, or until barely tender.
- Alternatively, cook the asparagus in a wide pan of simmering water for 3–4 minutes.
- To test, pierce the thickest part of the stalk with a thin, sharp knife.
- If cooked in simmering water, carefully lift out the asparagus spears with a slotted spoon and drain thoroughly on paper towel.
- While the asparagus is cooking, half fill a frying pan with water and bring to the boil.
- Add the vinegar, then reduce the heat so the water is just simmering.
- Carefully crack 4 of the quail eggs, one at a time, and slip into the water.
- Cook for 1 minute, or until the yolks have just set.
- Remove the poached eggs from the water with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.
- Keep warm while poaching the rest of the quail eggs.
- Pour the dressing over the salad and toss together.
- Spread out on a large serving platter.
- Arrange the asparagus on the salad and place the poached eggs on top.
- Scatter over the parmesan shavings and grind a little pepper over the top.
- Serve immediately.