Sorry for my absence yesterday! The Boy is moving back to school today, so it’s been a bit of a whirlwind week for me. I know I told you I was making VENISON this weekend, but then I remembered this recipe I’ve been hoarding for well over a year. It’s the perfect goodbye kiss for summer and all its wonderful yummy things, like peaches and tomatoes. Now, let me just say, I don’t particularly like salad. But it’s almost unfair to other salads to call this recipe a salad. It’s so rich, and brightly colored, and it has bacon. It’s definitely a special occasion dish, because it requires a little bit of effort and a fair amount of ingredients. But it was my last totally unburdened weekend with The Boy before he trotted off to Super Talented People School. While I assembled the salad inside, The Boy dug a little fire pit out back. We munched on our appetizer and grilled a massive porterhouse over the open flames. After dinner, we sat out under the stars and roasted ‘shmellows. It was one of the quintessential August evenings, with a clear sky and just the right amount of chill in the air to make me grateful for the fire. I hope you all enjoy!
Summer Harvest Salad with Poached Egg
Adapted from The Crepes of Wrath
(Serves 4 as an appetizer, 2 as a main dish)
4 cups baby spinach, washed (the original recipe calls for a mixture of spinach and arugula, which would be nice if you feel like spending money on two kinds of greens)
Medley of summer tomatoes (I used a large gold, some smaller heirlooms, and these amazing black cherry tomatoes, which I’d never heard of before), cut into wedges, or halves for cherry-sized
1 large red, yellow, or orange bell pepper, OR, a medley of smaller peppers, sliced thinly
8 slices thick cut bacon
1 large peach, cut into wedges
1 ripe avocado, cut into cubes
¼ red onion, sliced thin
1 egg per diner
Parmesan cheese, grated as you like (I prefer shaved)
2 tbs distilled white vinegar
Apple cider vinegar
Honey (whatever you have on hand, I used my favorite: buckwheat)
Cook bacon to desired doneness and remove from pan to paper towel-lined plate. Reserve bacon fat and let cool, then cut into bite-sized pieces.
In a large bowl, gently combine spinach, tomatoes, peppers, peach, avocado, onion and bacon. Sprinkle some salt and pepper.
Bring a medium pot of water with two tablespoons distilled white vinegar and a pinch of salt to a boil on the stove.
While you wait, pour your no-longer-scalding bacon fat into a large glass measuring cup. Add apple cider vinegar with a ratio of two parts bacon fat to one part vinegar. Alternatively, you can use olive oil with the same measurements (but where’s the fun in that?). Sprinkle some cracked black pepper, and add a dollop of honey. Whisk until smooth.
Pour some of your dressing over the salad. You want to use about half as much as you normally would, because you’ll have the runny egg yoke as well. Add parmesan cheese and toss. Divide salad into serving bowls.
Once water/vinegar/salt mixture is boiling on the stove, reduce to a very gentle simmer. Crack your first egg into a small bowl, if the yoke is broken throw it out. If not, dip the lip of your bowl into the pot of water and gently slide the egg out of the bowl, into the pot. Be very careful doing this. If you do it too fast, you could break your yoke and then you’ll have to start over. If you do it too slow, the water could cook the egg into the bowl, thus making it impossible to remove. Leave the egg in the water for about 2-3 minutes. You want to see that the whites are solidifying, but remove pretty quickly after that for a nice, runny yoke. Repeat with remaining eggs, placing one egg on top of each individual bowl of salad. Poaching eggs sounds a lot harder than it actually is, but there’s still a little bit of work involved. If you’re pressed for time or scared of screwing up, try sunny-side up instead (frying the eggs without flipping, as opposed to over-easy). Enjoy!