My Spring Salad with Eggs and Creamy Tarragon Dressing is a beautiful addition to any spring brunch or Easter table. It’s made with shaved asparagus, fennel, and radishes, crunchy pistachios, silky goat cheese, and jammy eggs. The dressing is to die for.
I’m taking a temporary detour from my regular Wednesday Main Course Salads to bring you this one that I think is perfect as an Easter or Passover side. Technically, I guess, it could be a main course, which is the way I had it the other night, because the eggs are pure protein, so maybe I’m not so far off course after all.
Here’s a recap of the main course salad recipes so far ~ they’re all great ways to lighten up your meal planning:
Main course Salad #1 ~ Salmon Cobb Salad
Main Course Salad #2 ~ Middle Eastern Chickpea Salad (balela salad)
Main Course Salad #3 ~ Shrimp Taco Salad
Main Course Salad #4 ~ Chopped Chef Salad with Creamy Sweet Onion Dressing
Main Course Salad #5 ~ Burger Salad Bowl
Main Course Salad #6 ~ Great Island Curried Chicken Salad Plate
This spring salad is simple and delicious, with the emphasis being on wonderful fresh spring greens in two varieties, along with a a classic trio of seasonal veggies: fennel, asparagus, and radishes. I know I sometimes go overboard adding a ton of ingredients to my salads, other times I like to exercise restraint and limit the cast of characters. The color palette of this one is nicely curated, too. I think it would be a beautiful addition to a spring brunch or a holiday table.
I’ve been making it a point to try new types of lettuce lately, and my farmers market makes that so easy. I have a favorite booth that I love for this. Today I’m using a baby oak leaf lettuce, and a Freckles variety. Freckles is an heirloom variety of romaine, with a speckled red and green leaf. Both greens are delicate and crunchy and if you have a green thumb are easy to grow yourself.
Trying out different types of lettuces helps motivate me to eat more salad.
I decided to keep the lettuce leaves whole for this salad, instead of chopping or tearing them. It puts the focus on the pretty colors and shapes of the two varieties. Remove the core end and any wilted or bruised outer leaves. Carefully separate the leaves and give them a good wash and let them dry between clean kitchen towels.
I basically lined the bottom of my salad bowl with the lettuce leaves forming a base for the rest of my ingredients.
The biggest story in this recipe might be the creamy tarragon dressing. It’s so good I want to make more and use it for a dip, it would be fabulous with raw veggies. I think it would work as a dressing for a potato salad, or even an egg salad, too.
The dressing combines the tangy creaminess that comes from sour cream and yogurt, plus the sharp bite of garlic, plus the lovely flavor of tarragon, such an under-used herb.
You’ll need good knife skills or a mandoline slicer to make this salad, the fennel and radishes need to be paper thin. I used a regular vegetable peeler to peel off strips of the asparagus, it makes beautiful delicate ribbons!
How to cook perfectly jammy eggs?
The eggs are an important part of this salad and you want them to be perfect. The slightly undercooked yolks makes them creamy and delicious.
- Take eggs out of the fridge (I like to put them in a bowl of warm tap water to take the chill off)
- Bring a pot of water to a boil.
- Carefully add your eggs, I use a spoon to lower them in.
- Immediately set the timer for 7 minutes.
- Drain and rinse in cold water for 2 minutes.
- Put the eggs back in the dry pot, put on the lid, and shake them back and forth vigorously so they bounce against each other and the sides of the pan.
- Peel the eggs under cold running water, the shells will slip right off.
- tip: I usually boil one more egg than I need, just in case one cracks while boiling.
Yes, you can assemble the salad in the morning, the lettuces are crisp and the veggies sturdy enough to last, just keep these things in mind…
- Don’t slice the eggs until ready to serve.
- Don’t dress the salad until ready to serve. Better yet, serve the dressing on the side and let people do it themselves.
- Cover loosely with damp paper towels and plastic, then refrigerate.
- We found that this salad kept, assembled but not dressed, for a couple of days in the fridge and was just as crunchy and delicious as the day it was made.
Spring Salad with fennel and eggs
creamy tarragon dressing
- 2 small heads of spring lettuce, I used oak leaf and Freckles lettuces.
- 1 small head of fennel, trimmed and sliced paper thin
- 6 radishes, sliced paper thin
- 3-4 stalks of asparagus, trimmed and shaved into thin strips with a vegetable peeler
- 1/4 red onion, sliced paper thin
- 3 hard cooked eggs, sliced in half lengthwise
- 1/4 cup soft goat cheese, crumbled
- 1/2 cup pistachio nuts
- To make the dressing, put all the ingredients in a small food processor and process until smooth and creamy. Taste it to adjust any of the flavors. Pour into a small jar and refrigerate until needed. This can be done up to a day or two in advance, it just gets better! Double or triple the recipe for larger amounts.
- Slice off the core ends of the heads of lettuce and wash and dry the leaves well. I like to keep them whole for this salad. Arrange them in a wide shallow salad bowl, covering the whole surface of the bowl.
- Arrange the rest of the ingredients on top of the lettuce. Season with fresh cracked black pepper, and drizzle with the dressing just before serving.