Poach the salmon; leave to cool. Meanwhile make the Tomato and Mint Salad. Remove the cores from six tomatoes and quarter. Sprinkle with a little salt, sugar and black pepper. Toss immediately in a little French dressing; sprinkle with 1 to 2 teaspoons of chopped mint and basil.
Slice a medium cucumber, sprinkle with salt, 1 to 2 dessertspoons of wine vinegar and plenty of sugar. Stir in 2 teaspoons of finely chopped fennel.
To assemble the Salmon Mayonnaise, put a portion of salmon on each plate when it is just cold. Garnish with a little lettuce, pipe some Potato Salad onto the lettuce and put a little Tomato and Cucumber Salad on the plate as well as one spoonful of egg mayonnaise. Garnish with tiny spring onions and watercress and a segment of lemon. Additional mayonnaise can be served separately or put into a bowl on each plate.
Piped Potato Salad: Add French dressing, finely chopped parsley, chives and mayonnaise to 1 litre (1 3/4 pints) stiff, freshly mashed potato to taste. Pipe onto individual leaves of lettuce.
Mayonnaise: Most people don't seem to be aware that mayonnaise can be made, even with a hand whisk, in under five minutes. The great secret is to have all your ingredients at room temperature and to drip the oil very slowly into the egg yolks at the beginning. Good quality ingredients are essential to a successful mayonnaise.
Put the egg yolks into a bowl with mustard, salt and the white wine vinegar. Put the oil into a measuring jug. Take a whisk in one hand and the oil in the other and drip the oil on to the egg yolks, drop by drop, whisking at the same time. Within a minute you will notice that the mixture is beginning to thicken. When this happens you can add the oil a little faster, but not too quickly or it will suddenly curdle. Taste and add a little more seasoning and vinegar if necessary.
If the mayonnaise curdles, it will suddenly become quite thin, and if left standing the oil will start to float to the top. You can easily rectify the situation by whisking another egg yolk or 1 to 2 tablespoons of boiling water into the mayonnaise, half a teaspoon at a time, until it emulsifies again.
Lower the eggs gently into boiling salted water, bring the water back to the boil and hard-boil the eggs for 10 minutes in boiling water. Drain and put immediately into a bowl of cold water. (Eggs with a black ring around the yolk have been overcooked.) When cold, shell and slice in half lengthways. Sieve the yolks and mix the sieved egg yolk with mayonnaise. Add chopped chives and salt and pepper to taste. Fill into a piping bag and pipe into the whites. Garnish with a sprig of parsley or chervil and serve on a bed of lettuce.
Consumption of raw or undercooked eggs, shellfish and meat may increase the risk of foodborne illness.
Darina Allen from the famous Ballymaloe Cookery School in Shanagarry, Co. Cork in Ireland, www.ballymaloecookeryschool.com