Spring Salad with Eggs and Creamy Tarragon Dressing




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Spring Salad with Eggs and Creamy Tarragon Dressing

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.

Spring Salad with Creamy Tarragon Vinaigrette on a white marble surface

 

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.  

Spring Salad with Creamy Tarragon Dressing

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.

Lettuce for Spring Salad with Tarragon Dressing

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.

Lettuce for a spring salad

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.  

Adding creamy tarragon dressing to s spring salad

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!

Shaved fennel for a spring salad

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.

Spring Salad with Eggs and Creamy Tarragon Dressing

Make-ahead tips:

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
Rate this recipe
13 ratings

Category: salad, side dish

Cuisine: American

Yield: serves 4

Spring salad with creamy tarragon dressing

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.

Ingredients

    creamy tarragon dressing
  • 3 heaped Tbsps fresh tarragon leaves
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 Tbsp yogurt
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • pinch of salt and pepper
    salad
  • 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

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

 

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12 Comments

    Leave a Reply

  • Reply
    Janet Winchester
    April 20, 2019 at 9:08 am

    Sue,
    I’m going to serve this tomorrow for Easter. Do you blanch the asparagus or use it raw?
    This looks delicious and I’m going to make extra dressing and try it on salmon as well.
    Thank you for sharing this with the world!
    Janet

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 20, 2019 at 9:39 am

      I use the asparagus raw Janet, it’s so tender when you shave it like this. Happy Easter <3
      PS I love the idea of using the dressing on salmon :)

  • Reply
    Sandra
    April 18, 2019 at 10:48 am

    When peeling the asparagus do you just peel the stalks? How do you treat the flowers?

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 18, 2019 at 11:14 am

      Great question ~ I peeled the whole thing, and sometimes the heads fell off, but I just added them to the salad. Sometimes, though, I scored and got the whole thing, tip and all, in one peel!

  • Reply
    Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen
    April 18, 2019 at 6:54 am

    Such a fabulous spring salad Sue! I love the added pistachios and goat cheese. And that tasty tarragon dressing!

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 18, 2019 at 11:22 am

      The green pistachios add a lot, I agree Mary Ann ~ thanks for stopping by!

  • Reply
    angiesrecipes
    April 17, 2019 at 9:41 pm

    What a wonderful spring salad! Those eggs are perfectly boiled.

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 18, 2019 at 11:24 am

      I think I’ve settled on the perfect timing for eggs, and I’m sticking to it ;)

  • Reply
    2 sisters recipes
    April 17, 2019 at 4:48 pm

    This is my kind of salad Sue, and it looks beautiful !! Love the yogurt and sour cream in the tarragon dressing -and it sounds amazing! Oh and pistachios too- genius!

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 18, 2019 at 11:23 am

      The dressing was so good I am seriously planning many more uses for it :)

  • Reply
    Tricia
    April 17, 2019 at 6:08 am

    Absolutely lovely salad Sue! I’ve gotta try that dressing soon and I’ll be looking for those wonderful lettuce varieties too. So pretty!

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 17, 2019 at 8:19 am

      I’m committed to trying out all sorts of greens this year, and I’m particularly loving the crunchier varieties that aren’t so wilty ~ I really enjoyed the leftovers of this salad the next day, what a treat!