Springtime and a Salad
The weather is getting warmer, the days are getting longer, and the flowers are blooming…. spring is finally here! I’ve been checking the farmer’s market but the only vendors are the Amish preserves guy, the meat guy, the biscotti lady and a bakery. I keep hoping that when I walk by there will be someone selling the beginning of the spring produce, but not yet. Maybe I should find a bigger farmer’s market!
Nate and I are going to build raised garden beds this weekend, and we’ve been busy planning out what we’re going to plant and where. Since neither of us know what we’re doing, it’s basically just one big experiment. In the meantime, it’s been fun to walk around out yard and see what’s popping up! There are some little teeny flowers that are essentially in the middle of the yard; I have no idea how they got there and I’m surprised they’ve lasted this long, given out dog’s penchant for chewing on everything that we don‘t want her to chew on in our yard. We’re already planning a chicken wire barricade around our garden and theorizing on the best way to keep her away from the raspberry bushes and fig trees we want to plant.
I’ve also been busy sprucing up our house, doing things like painting a shelf to store dishes. We bought it at Ikea when we lived in our apartment for extra storage of the random stuff (chips, spices, tea, condiments, oils, fruit….) that didn’t fit in our five shelves. I’ve found myself acquiring some nice dishes and I decided to repaint the unfinished shelf a glossy black so it would look nice in our dining room and I could store/display dishes on it. Aside from the fact that I got paint everywhere, had to make numerous trips to Lowe’s (turns out you can’t clean oil-based paint out of brushes with water…. who knew?!) and made a colossal mess, I’m really proud of the finished product! It’s not perfect, but it’s a start.
You’re probably starting to wonder about the “salad” part of this post– don’t worry, I didn’t forget! I’m not a salad person, not by a long shot. In fact, this salad was Nate’s idea. We recently got a cookbook called Mad Hungry and Nate has been making recipes out of it right and left. I’ll go into my opinion of the cookbook in a later post (stay tuned), but Nate absolutely loves the it and there are a lot of fantastic recipes that we both have really enjoyed, this salad being one of them. This is called “Bistro Pantry Salad” and, really, how could you go wrong with it? Diced onions and bacon cook together, and in the meantime you poach some eggs and pour some oil, vinegar, salt and pepper over chopped lettuce. That’s it! It’s a meal in one dish, and it’s one of the best salads I’ve ever had. Poached eggs, bacon and onions make for the most un-salady salad ever, but that’s what makes it so yummy!
Pantry Bistro Salad
Adapted from Mad Hungry (serves 4)
The author is a little butter/oil-crazed, and I’ve found you can usually decrease the amount of butter/oil by a significant amount with no detrimental effects. In this case, the recipe calls for one tablespoon of oil for the onions and bacon…. um, has she not noticed how much grease comes out of bacon when you cook it?? Rather than red wine vinegar, we used aged syrupy balsamic, but I think you could probably use either.
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 pound bacon, but into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 white onion, chopped
4 large eggs
2 heads romaine lettuce, washed, dried and chilled
2 capfuls red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
Toasted bread slices, for serving
Heat a medium skillet over medium high heat, and then swirl in one teaspoon of olive oil. Add the bacon and onion and saute until the bacon is crisp, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove the bacon and onion mixture with a slotted spoon to drain on paper towels.
Meanwhile, poach the eggs in gently boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes, until the white is set and the yolk is still runny. Using a slotted spoon, remove the eggs and place on paper towels to drain.
Slice the lettuce into 1/2 inch pieces and place in a large salad bowl. Drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil and vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat the leaves.
Divide the lettuce among 4 bowls (yes, that’s half a head of lettuce per bowl). Sprinkle each with the bacon mixture. Place an egg on top of each and serve immediately with toasted bread.