|A hard boiled duck egg is served with cheese, oatcakes and a simple salad|
Salad is an ugly word for many people. Images may be conjured up of a plate of limp, brownish lettuce, soggy tomatoes (or even worse - under-ripe!) and shrivelled slices of cucumber. The truth is of course that salad is a term which covers an endless list of possibilities and salads can be made to contain any number of ingredients. The conventional salad element of this dish is basic but the ingredients are of a high quality and are served with three classic Scottish food products.
|Fresh duck eggs|
I honestly can't understand why duck eggs are not more popular and widely available. I think they provide a really tasty alternative to chicken eggs and the truth is that duck egg recipes can be adapted from virtually any dish which calls for chicken eggs. I'm very lucky in that I can regularly find fresh duck eggs in my local fishmonger's (Strathclyde Seafoods on Hill Street in Wishaw) but the fact that I don't know any other shop in my immediate area which sells them highlights the availability problem. If you want to find them in your area, you could try the search engines (search for "duck eggs" along with the name of your town or city), local farms/farm shops and local farmers' markets. Give them a try if you haven't done so before - hopefully you will get a very pleasant surprise!
1 fresh duck egg at room temperature
1 medium tomato, cut in to wedges
2 inch (5cm) piece of cucumber, cut in to half discs
3 leaves of Scottish iceberg lettuce, rolled and shredded
Salt and pepper
2 Stockan's oatcakes (or oatcakes of choice)
3 slices of Scottish cheddar cheese, halved diagonally to form wedges
Freshly chopped parsley to garnish
|Duck egg ready for hard boiling|
Put the duck egg in to a small pot and add enough cold water to ensure it is comfortably covered. Put the pot on to a high heat until the water starts to boil. Reduce the heat to achieve a moderate simmer and continue to simmer for ten minutes.
|Hard boiled duck egg is quickly cooled|
After ten minutes' simmering, carry the pot carefully to your sink. Lay it in the sink and run in cold water for a minute or so, until the duck egg is cool enough to handle. Crack the shell all over by knocking the egg just hard enough on a hard surface and peel the shell away.
|Hard boiled and peeled duck egg is cooled|
Fill the pot with fresh cold water and lay the duck egg in the water for five minutes while you prepare the rest of the salad. What this does is cool the egg quickly and prevents that bluey-grey discolouration forming around the edges of the yolk. This tip works exactly the same way with chicken eggs.
|Scottish iceberg lettuce, tomato and cucumber|
The lettuce leaves, tomato and cucumber should of course be thoroughly washed in fresh cold water and dried before they are prepared.
|Salad ingredients are seasoned and combined|
Put the salad ingredients in to a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Carefully fold/stir with a spoon to combine the ingredients and evenly disperse the seasoning.
There are a great many varieties of oatcakes available in Scottish shops and supermarkets and over the years, I must have tried most of them! I honestly don't ever recall tasting a variety that I totally disliked but obviously I have my preferences. My favourite kind of all is Stockan's oatcakes from the Orkney Islands and if you haven't already, I strongly recommend you give them a try. If you can't find them locally, you can actually buy them several packs at a time on both Amazon UK and Amazon.com.
|Salad, oatcakes and Scottish cheddar cheese are plated|
Lay the oatcakes at opposite corners of a square plate and the Scottish cheddar cheese wedges on top. You will find it much easier to use your hands than a spoon to arrange the salad in the other two corners, making sure you leave room in the centre of the plate for what will be the duck egg halves.
|Hard boiled duck egg is halved and seasoned|
Take the duck egg from the water and dry carefully with kitchen paper. Sit it on a chopping board and half carefully lengthways with a sharp knife. Season lightly with salt.
Lay the duck egg halves on the plate and garnish with the chopped parsley.
|Hard boiled duck egg is plated with cheese, salad and oatcakes|