If you’re making this gorgeous salad for a picnic, try to bring it together at the last minute, as it’ll always taste better if it’s escaped the icy clasp of the fridge.

If you cook the main ingredients about an hour or so before you leave, by the time you reach your destination, everything will be nice and cool, at which point you can finish the salad with the eggs, a scattering of fresh herbs and the remaining dressing.

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Chef, author and food writer Gill Meller has written a number of cookbooks, including Root, Stem, Leaf and Flower, Gather and Time. Additionally, you can find more of Gill's recipes on our website.

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Wild garlic bread sticks over a campfire


  • 4–6 eggs, at room temperature
  • 750g (1lb 10oz) small–medium new potatoes, scrubbed
  • 12 asparagus spears
  • A bunch of spring onions (scallions), thinly sliced
  • A few handfuls of soft herbs, such as flat-leaf parsley, chives, chervil or basil

For the dressing

  • 2 teaspoons Dijon or English mustard
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon runny honey
  • 1 garlic clove, bashed
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  • STEP 1

    First, make the dressing. Put all the ingredients in a small jug, season with salt and pepper, and whisk until thoroughly combined. Set aside.

  • STEP 2

    To cook the eggs, bring a medium pan of water to a boil. Carefully add the eggs to the water, bring it back to a boil and cook for 6½ minutes. Drain the eggs, then run them under a cold tap for a minute or so, to stop them cooking. Peel the eggs and set them aside.

  • STEP 3

    Place the potatoes in a large pan. Cover generously with cold, salted water, set over a high heat and bring to a boil. Cook the potatoes for 8–15 minutes (cooking time will vary according to the variety and freshness of the potatoes), until tender. A couple of minutes before they’re ready, snap the woody ends from the asparagus and add the spears to the water. Make sure they are submerged so they cook evenly. After 2 minutes, drain the potatoes and asparagus in a colander, and then carefully return them to the pan.

  • STEP 4

    Add the spring onions (scallions) and spoon over half the dressing, season with some salt and pepper, gently combine and leave to cool.

  • STEP 5

    Cut the eggs in half with a sharp knife. Arrange the potatoes and asparagus on a serving plate or in a picnic-friendly alternative (I used the lid of a biscuit tin). Nestle in the eggs, roughly tear the herbs (there’s no need to chop them – just remove the coarser stems) and scatter them over. Trickle over the remaining dressing before serving.

This recipe was extracted from Outside: Recipes for a Wilder Way of Eating by Gill Meller. Photography by Andrew Montgomery

Outside recipe book by Gill Meller


Gill MellerChef and food writer

Gill is a chef, food writer, author, food stylist, and cookery teacher who lives and works near Lyme Regis in Dorset.