Obviously, ladies love their salads: just check this out. I never look like that when I'm eating my solitary salads; usually I'm cross-legged on the bed or wherever, watching an old episode of United States of Tara or the Daily Show. But nothing makes me happier when I know I'm on my own for lunch or dinner than to indulge in a very simple, very vinegary toss of fancy lady-greens. A few years ago I started always pairing it with a goat cheese toast, and I still insist on that, but now I have to kick it up a notch and put an egg on it. Poach it! It's the best ever.
Every since my breakfast rule began, I've been trying to learn how to poach a good egg. This has resulted in Paul and me having our fair share of poached eggs with overcooked yolks, raggedy-ass whites, and general sadness. I'd tried everything I could find--and there are a LOT of suggestions out there on the interwebs for how to do it. But you know what finally worked for me? Less of everything. Less water, less heat, no swirling, no vinegar. I actually forgot the vinegar, and this is the first time I've loved my egg. I loved it so much I took pictures of it, but when I told it to say "Cheese," it just sat there. Oh well. Eggs are snobs.
This post is less about a recipe than it is about feeding yourself what you want when you want it. Sometimes I really do want a salad with no other vegetables than the greens. It's super-natural to me. It's like writing on a legal pad or reading a book with, you know, pages. Let's do this more.
Here's how I make it. Use whatever you want.
simple salad with poached egg
- extra-virgin olive oil
- red wine vinegar
- salt and cracked black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- a handful or two of salad greens
- bread, one or two slices
- goat cheese
- 1 egg
- Make a dressing right in the bowl: Pour about 2 teaspoons of both oil and vinegar in the bowl you'll toss your greens in, season with salt and pepper, and add the mustard. Whisk it all around with a fork and taste it: it should be strong. Leave it in there while you do the rest, waiting to toss the greens until the last second.
- Make the toast: Spread the goat cheese (or crumble it) onto the bread, and place under the broiler for a couple minutes, until the edges of the bread get browned and crusty. Remove and spread the goat cheese out more if necessary.
- Cook the egg: Fill a small saucepan with water about 2" deep. Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat. When the bubbles completely disappear, crack the egg into a small bowl, then gently slip it into the water. Let it stay there undisturbed for about a minute. Then, turn the burner on again just a tiny bit, just to keep the water hot, but don't let it come back to a simmer (if it does, turn it off again). After another minute, take two spoons and play with the egg whites a little bit, bringing them around to cover the top of the yolk. Don't worry about it being perfect. Remove the egg when the yolk is still orange and jiggles some when you touch it with a spoon; I like it after 4 minutes, for a runny yolk. Gently lift it out with a spoon and let it drain briefly on a paper towel-lined plate.
- To serve, toss the greens in the bowl with the dressing and remove them to a big plate. Gently place the egg on top, and season with salt and pepper. Toast goes on the side. Dig in. Watch whatever you want.
serves 1, natch