spanish egg and cheese salad with membrillo

Lindsey Bareham

This combination of hard-boiled eggs with a dollop of mayonnaise nestling over curls of crisp little gem lettuce hearts with peas, slivers of salty Manchego cheese and fresh mint, is top of my salad league. Scraps of golden brown, translucent membrillo quince paste complete this lovely mix of textures and flavours, managing to be both light and fresh but surprisingly satisfying.

serves 2, prep: 20 min, cook: 10 min

4 eggs
150g podded fresh peas or frozen petits pois
2 little gem lettuce hearts
200g Manchego cheese
20 mint leaves
10g flat leaf parsley
1 lemon
1 tsp honey
4 tbsp best olive oil
2 tbsp mayonnaise
25g membrillo (quince cheese)

Cover the eggs with cold water in a small pan and boil for 8 min. Scoop into the sink, crack all over and peel immediately under cold water. Return the pan water to the boil, add 1 tsp salt and the peas. Boil until tender. Drain in a colander. Separate the lettuce leaves, halving the bigger ones lengthways. Rinse and shake dry. Use a potato peeler to cut thin lengths of cheese (having removed the rind). Shred the mint and parsley leaves.

Squeeze 2 tbsp lemon juice into a mixing bowl. Add pinch salt, spoonful of honey and several grinds of black pepper. Beat or whisk in the olive oil to make thick vinaigrette. On individual plates or on a platter, pile the lettuce interspersed with most of the herbs and most of the cheese. Scatter over the peas. Quarter the eggs and arrange on top with a small scoop of mayo. Add small scraps of membrillo and the last of the herbs. Spoon over the vinaigrette, encouraging it to trickle through the layers.