Soft-Boiled Egg Salad with Arugula and Pancetta


The Relaxed Kitchen

Published by St. Martin's Press

This image courtesy of Christine Schmidhofer

There is no more elemental dish in this book. The soft-boiled eggs are most easily pulled apart with your fingers, which will be salty and oily from handling the thick slices of pancetta. From barn to vegetable garden to chicken coop, this salad brings all the best pastoral ingredients onto your plate with simple honesty.  Use the best eggs you can lay your hands on, and serve outdoors in the sunshine, if possible.




Total Timeunder 1 hour

Recipe CourseAppetizer

Type of DishSalad


  • 6 ounces pancetta, sliced about 1/8-inch thick
  • 1 shallot, very finely chopped
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, very finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons aged red wine or balsamic vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 free-range or organic eggs
  • 6 ounces (6 cups, loosely packed) washed and dried baby arugula


  1. In a heavy saucepan, sauté the pancetta over medium-low heat until crisp and brown. Drain on paper towels and break apart into large pieces.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the shallot, salt, pepper, mustard, garlic, vinegar, and oil. Whisk until smooth and emulsified.

  3. Place the eggs carefully in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Place over high heat and when the water has just begun to simmer, remove from the heat, cover the pan, and let stand for 4 minutes. Drain and immediately cover the eggs with cold water, adding a few ice cubes.

  4. After about 20 seconds, quickly crack and scoop the eggs out of their shells, pulling them apart into large chunks with your fingers. Distribute the eggs evenly among individual plates.

  5. Add the arugula to the mixing bowl and toss to coat the leaves thoroughly. Mound the dressed arugula over the eggs and scatter with the pancetta. Serve within five minutes.


Cook the pancetta, make the dressing, and begin poaching the eggs. Guests should be approaching the table or seated before you begin removing the eggs from their shells.

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