Simple summer salads

Summer bean salad with poached duck egg

Serves 4

I love these summery salads using the best of the season’s ingredients. You can use whatever beans are available, and, if you’re a bit of a gardener, you can pick the best of your crop and use the tendrils from the peas and beans for the salad.


A couple of handfuls of small salad leaves and herbs, such as pea shoots, land, cress, purslane, rocket, mint leaves, chervil or chives, washed and dried
4 duck eggs
40g–60g podded weight of peas, cooked
80g–100g podded weight of broad beans, cooked
100g runner or green beans, topped and tailed and cooked
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

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For the dressing

1tbls cider vinegar
1tsp Dijon or Tewksbury mustard
3–4tbls rapeseed oil


Remove the outer shell from any of the larger broad beans, if you wish. Whisk the ingredients together for the dressing and season to taste. Arrange the leaves and peas and beans on plates and lightly dress and season. Meanwhile, poach the eggs, then place on the centre of the salad and spoon more of the dressing over it.

Duck livers with broad beans

Serves 4

Broad beans are pretty versatile for all sorts of different styles of cooking. We don’t tend to be too adventurous with broad beans, but I’m often influenced by the cooking of Mediterranean countries and the Middle East. Here, I’ve puréed the beans, rather like a hummus, and used the actual beans themselves to give a different texture to the dish.


300g podded weight of broad beans
350g–400g duck livers, cleaned
120g butter
1tbls chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Cook the beans in boiling salted water for 2–3 minutes until tender, then remove half with a slotted spoon and refresh under the cold tap briefly. Continue cooking the rest for another 2–3 minutes, then drain and blend to a coarse purée in a food processor.

Transfer to a pan and add about 60g of the butter and season to taste.

Remove the outer skin from any large broad beans and leave the smaller ones whole.

Melt about 40g of the rest of the butter in a frying pan on a high heat, season the livers and cook them on a high heat, turning them every so often, for 3–4 minutes, keeping them nice and pink.

Meanwhile, melt the rest of the butter in a pan and reheat the broad beans with the parsley and season.

Heat the broad-bean purée and spoon onto warmed plates, scatter the livers on top and spoon the broad beans over.

Mark Hix’s ‘British Seasonal Food’ is available from Quadrille at £25 (

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