Thursday, December 9, 2010

Bacon and Eggs and Asparagus Salad

I have been perusing my new Dorie Greenspan cookbook around my french table (no capitol letters in her title) and I came across this salad recipe that reminded me of a similar salad that I enjoyed in France a couple of years ago.  The salad arrived on a large plate layered with a fresh spring lettuce greens, drizzled with a vinaigrette, and adorning my lettuce was three perfectly cooked sunny-side up eggs, with a side of fried potatoes. This was simply the best entree salad that I had ever enjoyed.  You can check out my Dinner in Paris post that highlighted this salad at tomatoesonthevine-velva.blogspot.com/2009/08/dinner-in-paris.html

As soon as I saw this salad recipe, same concept, with a different twist, there was no hesitation, this salad was being prepared for dinner.  There is only one way to make this salad, and that is with fresh ingredients.  If you have access to fresh eggs, even better.

 I am inexperienced with preparing soft boiled eggs, and reading instructions such as "saying a little don't-let-my-egg break prayer" or "Allow the eggs to boil for exactly 6 minutes" or my favorite "very, very carefully shell the eggs.  It's a fussy job." stresses me.  Nevertheless, after I gently peeled those shells and saw the golden glory, I appreciated the stress.

The recipe instructions appear complicated but, really it isn't. It's just Dorie's way of assuming you know nothing, and trying to give you too much information with her charming up close and personal style.   


Bacon and Eggs and Asparagus Salad
Makes 4 servings
Recipe from around my french table


For the Vinaigrette
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard (optional)
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon hazelnut oil or walnut oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions:
Put all the ingredients in a small jar, cover, and shake to blend; or use a small bowl and a whisk.  If you've used the mustard, the dressing will be fairly well blended; if not, it will blend, then separate-either way, it's fine.  Set aside, and shake (or whisk) again before using.  (You can make the vinaigrette up to a week in advance and keep it in the fridge.)  

For the Salad:
4 cold extremely fresh large eggs
20 asparagus spears, preferably thick, trimmed and peeled
6 strips bacon
3 handfuls mesclun or other mixed salad greens, rinsed and dried
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts or walnuts

Directions:
Bring a medium saucepan of heavily salted water to a boil.  One by one, put the cold eggs on a spoon and slowly and gently lower them into the water (saying a little don't-let-my-egg-break prayer on the way down).  Allow the eggs to boil for exactly 6 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat.  Lift the eggs into a strainer, and run them under cold water to cool them quickly.  Fill the pan with cold water and leave the eggs in the water until needed.

Bring a large skillet of salted water to a boil.  Slip the asparagus into the pan and cook for 4 minutes, or until you can pierce the spears with the tip of a paring knife.  The asparagus should be cooked through but not at all mushy.  Carefully transfer the spears to a plate lined with a double thickness of paper towels and pat them dry.

Pour out the salted water, rinse the skillet to cool it, dry it, and lay the strips of bacon in the pan.  Cook over medium-high heat, turning as needed, until the bacon is golden and crisp on both sides.  remove the strips and put them between a double thickness of paper towels; when the bacon is cool, cut into narrow strips or chop it into bits.  Leave 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat in the skillet-you will use it for the eggs.

When you are ready to serve, very, very, carefully shell the eggs.  It's a fussy job, because the eggs are so soft, and you might not get the shells off cleanly, but unless you break into the yolks, it will be fine.  Rinse the eggs to remove any bits of shell and pat them dry.  Warm the bacon fat over medium heat.

While the bacon fat is heating, assemble the salad.  You can put it together on a platter or arrange it on individual plates.  Either way, season the mesclun with salt and pepper, then toss it with about three-quarters of the vinaigrette, and arrange in the center of the platter or your plates.  Toss the asparagus with the remaining vinaigrette ( I do this with my fingers) and lay the spears over the greens.

Now return to the skillet.  When the fat is warm, gingerly slip the eggs into the skillet and roll them around in the fat for a minute or two, just to coat them with fat, heat them slightly, and color them a little.

Lift the eggs out of the skillet and place them on top of the asparagus.  Scatter the bacon and toasted nuts over the salad and serve immediately.

Enjoy!






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54 comments:

Ana Powell said...

I must admit that I do not enjoy shelling eggs too, its a stressful job and I never get it right.
Your salad looks absolutely fantastic ♥

UrMomCooks said...

Looks absolutely delicious! I'm thinking brunch! Not sure why we tend to use cold hard-boiled eggs so much - the warm egg and bacon on the greens is a taste sensation!

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

Mmmmmm but that looks yummy, it has made my tummy grumble :-) Diane

The Food Hound said...

Tres tres delicious, tres tres French!!

Lea Ann said...

Beautiful Velva! I saw this recipe and also read the warnings and decided to wait for my courage to build. So glad to hear it wasn't that hard. I just think this salad looks wonderful and will be giving it a try.

doggybloggy said...

the yolk is so rich looking - nice salad!

From the Kitchen said...

This looks delicious. I can see the necessity to get the egg to the soft boil stage.

FYI: The older the egg, the easier it is to peel. Very fresh eggs are impossible to get the shell off of in one piece. To determine the age of the egg, there's a number on the end of the carton. The number will be 1-365.
So, if it's 264 that's the day the egg was laid (not the use by date). To peel easily, the egg needs to be over two weeks old. TMI?

Best,
Bonnie

kitchen flavours said...

Your salad looks really good! My family love eggs in salads, bookmarking this! Thanks for sharing.

5 Star Foodie said...

This is a beautiful salad, so perfect for a holiday brunch! The Vinaigrette sounds very flavorful with the nut oil.

LaDivaCucina said...

Velva this salad looks delicious but I have to admit, I'm not sure I would like nuts with bacon and eggs. Strange combo to me! I would suggest a teaspoon to scoop the egg instead of trying to peel, that's what I do!

Chef E said...

Heh! You just totally sent me over the edge, I have bacon waiting, and eggs...but hubby will have to put a clip on his un-loving bacon nose today!

Dishesdone said...

What a beautiful looking salad! I would love this now, at one time I wouldn't touch asparagus but my tastes have changed and this looks so good!

It is a great book!

Farmchick said...

This does look like such a great brunch dish. Love that bacon...makes everything better!

teresa said...

oh that is just gorgeous! i love that ooozy yellow yolk in there, how delicious!

Michael Toa said...

the salad looks great. Love the soft boiled eggs and crunhy bacon. :)

Claudia said...

Definitely on my agenda! I haven't made a soft-boiled egg in decades. It's time - this looks so welcoming.

My Carolina Kitchen said...

Gorgeous yolk Velva. They turned out perfect, but would have stressed me too. I just received my copy of Dorie's book. I will definitely be making this salad, over and over again.
Sam

Sook said...

I've been craving a good salad! This looks way good! I want it. :)

A Canadian Foodie said...

I made a similar salad = from the Thomas Keller book, I think... and did the eggs in my sous vide machine. Yours look gorgeous, too.
:)
valerie

Intuitive Eggplant said...

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm. This looks so inviting. Am entranced by the combination of ingredients. Clearly the soft-boiled eggs are worth the effort. Thanks for sharing another great recipe!

Design Wine and Dine said...

I have said those "egg prayers" before. This is a top rate salad that you executed wonderfully! Beautiful!

Dorie's stuff is the best!

Marguerite said...

Your eggs are perfection and this salad looks fab! Love the vinaigrette, too!

Beth said...

What a gorgeous salad! Looks wonderful.

Kim said...

Velva- Your eggs were handled with expert care. What a beautiful salad!

Thanks so much for your help and input regarding my site. I ended up taking the word verification away and I think it fixed the problem. Have a great weekend!

ThatJewCanCook said...

Mmm...bacon! Looks awesome..
Andy

We Are Not Martha said...

This looks exquisite!! I'm hoping to see Dorie's book under my tree on Christmas morning :) :)

Sues

Diana's Cocina said...

Your salad is beautiful ~ One of my favorites!

Chow and Chatter said...

wow what a wonderful salad and i love eggs like that yum

Sommer J said...

Wow!!!! This looks fabulous! I need to find Dorie's cookbook asap!!

Pierce said...

Velva – Are you participating in the French Fridays theme at Cooing with Dorie? I am #1 on the library list for that book and can’t wait to see it.

shaz said...

That does look delicious, light yet substantial. Perfect for the warmer weather here. (I too stress about soft boiled eggs)

Sarah Naveen said...

such a yummy platter...loved it

Foodessa said...

This is exactly the type of Saturday lunch Hubby and I enjoy having...especially after exhausting gift shopping ;o)

Velva, the vinaigrette is exceptional...will try it next time.

Ciao for now and flavourful wishes,
Claudia

Bo said...

Looks wonderful...I need to buy that book.

LindyLouMac said...

This looks so delicious and somehow summery!

Mimi said...

We love this salad.
Mimi

Barbara said...

This looks marvelous, Velva. And I love recipes that assume you know nothing. Maida Heatter's books are like that. There's no way you can go wrong.
It's a very French dish, no question. What a lovely brunch dish, too.

Debbi Does Dinner Healthy said...

That is gorgeous! From the title, I couldn't quite picture it, glad I clicked or I would have missed out! I would love this for dinner!

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Looks so pretty and would make a perfect light lunch.

Raina said...

It looks like your eggs came out perfectly. I would have been stressed about that too. Your salad looks perfect too and delicious.

Val said...

I would anything for this right now......

Vickie said...

This is beautiful! Another lovely recipe from that book - I'm going to have to buy it. I love your photo, Velva!

Sean Grey Hanson said...

Those eggs look so fresh, and also the veggies. Always having something healthy here.

Kulsum@JourneyKitchen said...

Easy and beautiful salad it is! I actually dont like egg in my salad but this looks so good, I think I'll change my mind :)

Ann said...

That salad looks elegant and homey all at once. Delicious!

Lucia said...

Un blog favoloso, complimenti! Mi sono iscritta tra i tuoi sostenitori per non perderti di vista ;-)

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

That combo is heavenly! Totally mouthwatering.

Cheers,

Rosa

Chris said...

OK I'm totally going to blow this but I would DEVOUR this salad but.....I'd want hollandaise drizzled over it all! It reminds me of my favorite poached egg dish.

RamblingTart said...

Ohhh, I LOVE this salad, Velva! Your eggs turned out beautifully. :-)

pierre said...

hi velva !!
we are not on the same season trend and it is good to see aspagarus !!!it is so cold here in Paris !Pierre

All Our Fingers in the Pie said...

beautiful!

The Japanese Redneck said...

Now that's a salad I could dig into!

thefattyreader said...

Those soft-boiled eggs look so luxurious & tasty! I want to make them now...

food for thought said...

what a gorgeous pic, i just added this cookbook to my home, waiting until next year to sink my teeth into it~

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