Salad of the Summer

I am pretty sure someone messed with my calendar this summer and sucked out all the restful, lazy, classic summer moments one should have. Instead, it seems to be filled with unending travel, unbearable heat, and all-around busyness.  How can it possibly be August?! During the rare still moments I get these days, I'm pretty sure I'm sleeping. Food preparation in our house is at a minimum, and the grill is our best friend (except when we've forgotten to refill the propane tank).  We've been gravitating towards salads and cold grilled veggies to get us through the hot days, along with ice cream and gin and tonics.

Mixed Greens with Poached Eggs and Summer Herb Vinagrette


When we're in the mood for something a little special and I have an extra five minutes to haul out the food processor, I prepare a delicious dressing filled with fresh herbs from my garden or what I've picked from my CSA, Mountain View Farm. The dressing is adapted from The Frog Commisary Cookbook's Herb Vinagrette. It's tart and creamy and refreshing, and each time I've used a different combination of herbs.  I make a green salad, toss in whatever veggies I have on hand that are colorful and crisp. I poach two eggs for the top of each salad, add either kalamata olives or freshly-cooked, crisp bacon and drizzle the whole plate with the homemade dressing. This is a dinner salad for sure, and one I'd consider making for guests.

Summer Herb Vinaigrette:
(makes approx. 1.5 cups dressing)
1 large egg
1 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/2 tsp minced garlic
5-6 Tbsp fresh chopped herbs, any combination of the following: dill, basil, flat-leaf parsley, tarragon*
Using a food processor with the blade attachment, process the egg until it is light yellow and creamy.  Slowly add the vegetable oil, until the mixture is well blended and just a bit thick.  Pulse in the vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic, and herbs, until everything looks combined.  The dressing should be a creamy white with flecks of herbs throughout.  Pour it into a container with a lid and let it chill in the refrigerator until you are ready to enjoy it.  Giving it a little time, 30 minutes or so, lets the herbs infuse the vinaigrette.  Store up to one week.

How to poach an egg:
I'm still perfecting my egg poaching skills, and have tried a few different tactics, from adding vinegar to the water (and not), making a little whirlpool for the egg just before I drop it in (and not), and different levels of water. Basically, I'm a no-vinegar, yes-whirlpool poacher.  I just googled "how to poach and egg", and (of course) Smitten Kitchen has a great "How to Poach An Egg" tutorial. Instead of reinventing the egg-poaching wheel, I am suggesting you read her article and view her photos, which are right on point.

If you've never poached an egg before and are ready for a challenge, go get yourself a carton of eggs and start practicing.  I may or may not be known to feed one or two unacceptable versions to my dog before getting the "perfect" poach for the top of my salads...



8 comments:

  1. greeting from Malaysia. it does look tasty.

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  2. MMM...It looks delicious) Thanks for sharing!

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  3. This is awesome! All i can make is pasta :P

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  4. DANG! Nice salad. Summer's coming up, I'll have to try it.

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  5. That salad looks amazing! Perfect for the end of a hot summer day. Who could resist?

    Thanks for sharing the recipe, Nicole.

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