Bacon-n-Eggs (on my salad)!!
It’s not unusual for me to skip right past the salad section of a menu when out for a savory supper or an indulgent treat. I rarely think to consider a pile of greens for my main course unless it’s a mid-week, stick-to-the-diet, extra healthy option (or should I say necessity).
But a recent feature in Food & Wine called “Main Course Salads” – and its delectable cover photo – got my mouth watering. It reminded me of a couple of extraordinary salads at two of my favorite Kansas City spots.
Just a few weeks ago I raved via social media about the Warm Spinach Salad at Cafe Sebastienne. After choosing our entrees, we decided to share a salad as a first course. Advertising a “poached farm egg” to top it off, I knew this order held the potential to be far more than a side salad.
The baby spinach, barely dressed, was piled high on the plate. Within the mound of greens hid tender slices of baby Yukon Gold potatoes and succulent sautéed cremini mushrooms. I cut into the perfectly poached egg and watched as the runny yolk seeped into the roughage creating a second dressing. With a little cube of bacon lardon on top, my first bite was The Perfect Bite – and it was followed by several more until nothing was left. Absolutely amazing! The subsequent fish tacos were among the best I’ve ever had, but still the salad was the highlight of the meal.
My introduction to warm and easy eggs on a salad came at Justus Drugstore Restaurant in Smithville and has since become a staple of my meals there. Chef Jonathan’s Nested Egg Salad sports a mustard vinaigrette, curly endive, Berkshire bacon cubes, potato bits and a “crispy” soft-boiled egg. This second course is light and fresh, rich and savory, all at the same time. The egg alone is a culinary treat, encrusted with Panko breadcrumbs and lightly seasoned. But combined with the crunchy texture of the endive and the salty chewy bacon, the whole of the dish is better than words can express.
If you can’t get to Justus or Cafe Sebastienne soon, try a version at home. The Warm Bacon-and-Egg Salad from Food & Wine grabbed my attention. Maybe it will keep yours.
Warm Bacon-and-Egg Salad
- 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, halved lengthwise
- 1 generous cup 1/2-inch crustless bread cubes
- 8 slices of lean bacon
- 4 anchovy fillets, chopped
- 2 tablespoons Banyuls vinegar or red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 4 large eggs
- 5 ounces baby arugula
- 1/4 cup chopped chives
- Freshly ground pepper
- In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the garlic to a mini processor.
- Add the bread cubes to the skillet and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until browned and crisp, 3 minutes; transfer to a plate.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in the skillet. Add the bacon and cook over moderate heat until crisp. Transfer the bacon to a plate; keep warm. Reserve the bacon fat in the skillet.
- Add the anchovies, vinegar, mustard and the remaining 1/4 cup of oil to the garlic and process until smooth. Season with salt.
- Heat the bacon fat in the skillet. Crack the eggs into the skillet and fry over moderately high heat until over easy, 1 1/2 minutes on one side and 30 seconds on the other side.
- In a large bowl, toss arugula and croutons with the dressing. Mound the salad on plates and sprinkle with the chives. Top with the bacon and the fried eggs, season with pepper and serve right away.