Friday, July 9, 2010

Quick, Cheap, & Fresh Summer Dinner

As recipes are more ideas for me, this is my version of the NY Times Salad Lyonnaise. I didn't go too far off book with this one, just a tad. I added white truffle oil (be incredibly sparing) for flavor rather than shallots or onions.

Ingredients (serves two)
1 head green leaf lettuce, medium chop
2 fresh eggs
1/4 cup diced pancetta

White truffle oil
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup white vinegar, 1 tablespoon reserved
Ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon course sea salt

First, I prepared my dressing (in a large stainless steel bowl) with one tablespoon of olive oil and one tablespoon of white vinegar. I added literally two drops of white truffle oil (see below; I picked mine up a cute touristy grocery in Williamsburg, but I think it's available at Whole Foods or other fancy pants grocery stores - I did not mean to sound like Rachel Ray there). I've added a drizzle before and that was far too much, so I'm not kidding when I say be sparing. About half a teaspoon of course salt and three or four grinds on the pepper mill will finish off the dressing.

I then crisped up my pancetta (the Citterio pre-diced variety, available at Trader Joe's). I should note that the NYTimes recipe allows for the substitution of bacon, but I would not recommend it with my version of the salad. After the pancetta is well cooked, place it on a folded paper towel to absorb the grease, and once absorbed, add it to the dressing.

I moved on to the poaching of my eggs, one at a time. 

Everyone seems to have a different method for poaching eggs. I used to not be able to pull it off at all, but I soon realized I was unnecessarily complicating things. Now, I simply boil 2-3 cups water with 1/4 cup vinegar and swirl (keep the swirl going) before adding my egg (about one minute, maybe 90 seconds will do it). Two tips: from my experience, the finished product tends to be better if you use a fresh egg (notice how deep yellow the yolks are on my Pleasant Hill Farm eggs) and if you break the egg into a bowl rather than directly into the water (this also helps for people with klutziness problems, like myself). Remove from the water with a slotted spoon and place eggs in separate bowls to cool slightly.

With the eggs finished off, it was time for assembly. I use a large stainless steel bowl to toss salads with tongs (I think I may have learned this from Cosi); dressing and proteins in first, then add your greens. For this salad, exclude the poached egg until the end. Plate the greens, then delicately slide an egg on to each bed of greens. Here's your pretty finished product.

On this occasion, I served this lovely salad with Tuscan sausage soup, a standard in my house. I know, I must be crazy eating soup in this heat. I used dandelion greens instead of the usual Swiss chard in this particular version of the soup. For your reference, dandelion greens are very, very bitter. I think the greens may have to stew for a day or two to absorb the flavors of the broth.

I have also served this salad with grilled asparagus, which is almost the perfect compliment for a summer meal. With the help of The Frozen Fix, I'm going to work on a peaches and bourbon creamy sorbetto this weekend to compliment another summer meal.

With that, I'm off to my weekend (and to celebrate the two-year anniversary of my first blog post today!). Happy Friday. Eat well this weekend.


Kim said...

Mmm truffle oil makes everything better.

iEatDC said...

Agree with Kim, and also add that EGGS make everything better. In particular, a fried or poached egg, one where the yellow yolk will ooze all over the other components in a totally delectable gooey savory way. Eggs TOTALLY belong on salads, burgers, and obviously hash.

W. Mark Felt, Sr. said...

C used his leftover dressing and oozing yolk to toss with pasta. I'm creating my own personal culinarian here at home.

Angela said...

This looks amazing. I may try to make it this evening. YUM.