Bantam Eggs with homemade celery salt

Preparation time: 10 minutes Cooking Time: 6 minutes Serves:

Difficulty: 2/5

Hard to believe that a boiled egg covered in mayonnaise used to be offered as a starter in most restaurants, hotels and pubs with dining rooms. But then so did a glass of tomato juice straight out of the can. I’m not suggesting you revive the tomato juice idea, but properly made egg mayonnaise isn’t as boring as it sounds. Give it a twist with different eggs – quail, duck as well as all sorts of varieties of hens eggs are available.

Recipe by Mark Hix

INGREDIENTS

  • The leaves from one large head of leafy celery
  • 150g-200g flaky rock salt like Cornish sea salt

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    METHOD

    For modern egg mayonnaise, boil duck or hens eggs for 5-6 minutes in boiling water and transfer to a pan of cold water with a slotted spoon. Quail eggs take 2-3 minutes in boiling water. Peel and half them or just leave them whole. Serve them on a mixture of watercress and mustard, or some healthy salad leaves, and simply spoon out some homemade or good quality bought mayonnaise. Dust with paprika or cayenne pepper. A simple lightly boiled egg with celery salt and maybe a dollop of mayonnaise is a really simple pleasure whether it’s a tea time snack or a part of a picnic.

    Celery salt

    A friend gave this recipe to me and it sounded like just what I was looking for – celery salt tinged green as you’d expect it to be. The brown powder we are used to is made with the seeds, and the idea of sprinkling pretty green home-made celery salt on to gulls’ eggs, pheasant eggs or a Bloody Mary is really appealing. You can even give it away as a gift for Christmas as part of a little foodie hamper just put into nice bottle or clear bag. You will need one of those heads of celery that you find in a farmers market that hasn’t been trimmed to fit the bag. You can use the rest for a soup or salad.

    Set your oven to its lowest temperature. With some modern ovens you can just get away with using just the fan; the warming oven of an Aga is also ideal for this. Scatter the celery on to 1 or 2 baking trays and leave in the oven overnight until the pieces are dry and crisp, but don’t let them go brown. Depending on how watery the celery is you may have to allow even longer. Once dry enough, put them into a food processor with the sea salt flakes and blend to a coarse powder-like consistency or as course or fine as you whish. Store in airtight containers.