Photo and text by KARA DiCAMILLO/ecoRI News contributor
I was so happy last week when I picked up my CSA from Simmons Farm to find salad greens as well as sprouts. Nothing against bok choy, but I needed a change and knew immediately what salad I was going to prepare.
Salads can be terribly boring, so when you try one that you just can’t get out of your head, you know it’s a good one. I’m thinking of the frisée salad that one of my favorite restaurants, Fluke Wine, Bar & Kitchen in Newport, used to have on its menu. What made this salad delicious, aside from the truffle oil and fried pancetta, was the fried egg that sat on top of it.
Another one of my favorite salads is one that my friend, Kim, has brought to dinner parties, and it has always been a hit. What I enjoy about her warm spinach salad is that the dressing is, well, warm, so it heats up the salad perfectly to bring out all of the ingredients.
This mixed greens salad is inspired by these two delicious salads. I love the combination of the egg yolk with the bacon and the tangy pickled red onions. If you don’t like bacon, then this salad isn’t for you.
I made the croutons and pickled onions a few hours in advance, however, you can use raw onion slices as well if you don’t have time to pickle. You can also substitute pork bacon with turkey bacon.
This salad makes enough for two large dinner servings, and you can always add more lettuce if you’re serving this to more people. The recipe is fairly easy but a bit time consuming, so I wouldn’t recommend serving this at a dinner party.
Mixed Local Greens with Fried Egg and Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
4 ounces of mixed lettuce greens
1 cup of homemade croutons (recipe below)
3 tablespoons of crumbled goat cheese
2 slices of bacon
Pickled red onions, as desired (recipe below)
A touch of butter
A pinch of salt
Freshly cracked pepper
For the dressing
1.5 teaspoons of Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons of sherry vinegar
Freshly cracked pepper to taste
Wash the lettuce greens and add them to a medium-sized bowl, along with the croutons and goat cheese. Meanwhile, cut the bacon into cubes and sauté in a hot pan. Once it’s crisp, remove the bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel. Don’t drain the bacon fat because this is going to be used for your dressing. You should have about 2 tablespoons of bacon fat in your pan. If you don’t, add a bit of olive oil and heat. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the Dijon mustard, vinegar and about a teaspoon of pepper.
You can always taste the vinaigrette and add more of any of the ingredients, depending on how much you like of each. Meanwhile, heat a frying pan with a touch of butter for your egg. Once the pan is heated, crack your egg into the pan making sure your yolk doesn’t break. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.
While your egg is frying, toss the lettuce greens, croutons and goat cheese with the warm vinaigrette (if it has cooled you can heat it quickly on the burner again), and then divide and assemble onto two plates. Top with as many pickled onions as you like.
Once your egg has fried, place it on top, crack open the yolk and enjoy.
1 loaf of day-old bread
Quarter cup of olive oil
1 tablespoon of salt
Half tablespoon of pepper
Cube the bread and place onto a baking sheet. Pour the olive oil over top and add the salt and pepper. With your hands, mix the bread until evenly coated. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, or until slightly golden brown.
Half of a red onion
Quarter cup of apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon of salt
4 cups of water
Bring water to a boil on high heat in a saucepan. Meanwhile, thinly slice the onions and add them to the boiling water. Cover and cook for one minute. Drain the onions in a colander and add the vinegar to the saucepan. Add the onions and just enough water to cover them, and return them to the heat. Bring them to a boil and cook for another minute.
Transfer to a container and let cool in the refrigerator, about an hour. You’ll have a good amount left over, but they are delicious to use in other dishes as well, such as my upcoming fish taco recipe.