Serves about 3
2 little gem
1 large clove garlic
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
4 extra virgin olive oil
4 ripe tomatoes
Basil few sprigs
100 g french beans
16 black olives
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Break the little gem leaves apart, wash and plunge into lots of cold water. Peel and crush the garlic and tip into a large serving bowl with the vinegar and mustard. Whisk in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
2. Cut a little cone shape out of the tomatoes removing the stalks and cores. (see below) Turn over and score a little cross with a knife on the opposite side.
3. Put the tomatoes in a heatproof bowl, pour over boiling water to cover and leave for about 8-10 seconds. It won’t take long for the skins to lift slightly. (making them easy to peel, if they are ripe tomatoes, that is.)
4. Lift them immediately out, and into lots of cold water to stop them cooking further, You really don’t want a mushy tomato flesh surface. (you could add some ice to the water to speed up the cooling process.) Peel them and cut the tomatoes into large chunks and add to the serving bowl. Rip in a few leaves of basil and toss to coat.
5. Bring a small pan of water to a boil, gently lower in the eggs and simmer for 7-8 minutes, then lift out into lots of cold water to stop cooking. (again ice will speed up the cooling.) Peel and set aside.
6. Bring another pan of water to a boil with a pinch of salt. Top and tail the French beans and simmer til tender. (I, like Nigel Slater, can’t stand undercooked cheffy beans. They need to be good and tender.) Once again drain and refresh quickly in lots of cold water, with ice if you can. Drain again once cold.
7. Peel and cut the cucumber into thick chunks and add to the bowl of tomatoes with the beans and scatter in the olives.
8. Drain and dry the lettuce leaves and rip into manageable pieces into the bowl.
Toss all well together, Cut the eggs into halves and place on top. Cut the anchovies in half lengthwise and strew over the salad.
Toss together again and serve asap.