We went back to the same beach house we had rented last year which was fabulous since we knew the layout of the kitchen and what they basically had which enabled us to create a menu and cook almost all our meals at home. I knew I wanted to serve a different salad every day at lunch and made several different salad dressings and garnishes which came with us to facilitate lunch time. We had a salad every day with either a sandwich or a combination of different left overs which worked out fabulously.
We kept dinners very simple with things like hamburgers and hotdogs with potato salad one night, Fajitas another night, Creamy Orzo with grilled vegetables, Barbecue Meatballs with Egg Noodles, and Kung Pao Chicken. This was the first time that we actually took turns making dinners and I must say it was an absolute pleasure to watch the kids take their turn at making a delicious meal to serve all of us. I am a huge fan of this new plan.
We got back late yesterday and I couldn't wait to try some new recipes from a new cookbook that I had received right before vacation. Our lunch today came from this cookbook as well as our appetizer and entree for dinner tonight and all of them were superbly fabulous.
For lunch today I settled on this Bacon and Eggs and Asparagus Salad since I have been intrigued with many different options both at restaurants and recipes that have an egg with a soft yolk that creates another dimension of dressing on salads. I was also curious about the combination of egg and asparagus since I know how good asparagus with a Hollandaise sauce is. In addition to the creaminess that the egg yolk add to this salad, the cooked egg white with the asparagus was a surprisingly wonderful combination. This salad was a very nice play on asparagus with Hollandaise but quite a bit healthier. I would definitely make this again as well as not hesitate to serve it to guests since it was that good.
Bacon and Eggs and Asparagus Salad
Makes 2 servings
For the vinaigrette:
1/8 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons walnut oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the salad:
2 cold extremely fresh large eggs
10 asparagus spears, preferably thick, trimmed and peeled
3 strips bacon
1 1/2 handfuls mixed salad greens, rinsed and dried
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons toasted walnuts, chopped (I forgot to add these in my photo)
To make the vinaigrette:
Put all the ingredients in a small jar, cover, and shake to blend; or use a small bowl and a whisk. 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.)
To make the salad:
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 then under old 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 spears 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-low 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 of chop it into bits. Leave 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat in the skillet - you'll use it for the eggs.
When you're ready to serve, 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 unles you break in 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 salad greens and arrange in the center of the platter or your plates. Toss the asparagus with the remaining vinaigrette (I did 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 the 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.
Adapted from Around my French Table