I went to make a quick salad for dinner on Friday night, as you do. It turned out great! It was such a satisfying meal and a real snapshot of what has happened to my cooking while living in Ireland. I can’t stop giggling about the name I came up with! Recipe is below.

Being a West Coast foodie on the cheap I eat a lot of kale, usually organic kale grown by Patrick’s father in the Wicklow mountains. It is the best kale, and at this time of year has a good strong flavour. So I massaged that with good olive oil from the Spanish shop around the corner, and some balsamic vinegar we brought back from Greece last year. With a hefty sprinkle of sea salt rubbed into it, I left it for 5 minutes and went looking for tasty things to add to my salad.

Now salad-for-dinner is a thing in California. You can basically throw anything into a salad and if you put enough in it becomes a meal. Mark Bittman tried to make a science out of it with a formula based on the texture of the items added. For me, it is more the result of whatever I feel like eating, or what needs to be used up.

In this case all my salad fixings were, well, stereotypically Irish. There were lovely boiled potatoes (Kerr Pinks) and the last slice of ham, some green onions and homegrown shallots. Those all went in with a poached egg and a dollop of sweet chilli sauce and mayo. This is a salad that will keep you full.

Irish-Cali-Fusion Salad

Serves 1-2

  • 6 leaves kale
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Sea salt, like Maldon sea salt
  • 1 boiled potato, peeled
  • 1 poached egg
  • 1 slice good ham
  • 1 green onion
  • Shallot
  • 2 tsp mayo
  • 2 tsp sweet chili sauce (like Mae Ploy)

Also: How to poach an egg perfectly

  1. Boil water in an electric kettle. When boiled, pour the water into a small pot. The depth of the water should be 3 inches high and the heat should be med-low.
  2. Add a generous capful of white vinegar (or the juice of half a lemon, or if you’re really stuck, 1 tsp salt) to the water. This will help the white stay together and give it a lovely texture.
  3. Carefully break a good free-range egg into a small glass. I always use a little water glass or a small mug, you want the sides be a short as possible – say 2-3inches high.
  4. Inspect your water. It should be nowhere near boiling, and preferably just before simmering. You may need to turn the heat down low. If the water is still, with small bubbles forming on the bottom, slide your egg into the water by quickly turning the cup parallel to the water and submerging it slightly, letting the egg gently swoosh out.
  5. Leave the egg to settle on the bottom of the pot. After 30 seconds, use a large spoon to gently lift it up off the bottom of the pot and let it float freely in the water. It will only take a couple minutes to cook so keep a good eye on it. Use the large spoon to lift it out of the water. The white should be firm when jiggled – if it’s a bit wobbly in the centre give it another little bit. Be sure to drain the water out of the spoon, no one likes a watery egg.

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