Bacon and Egg Salad.

The French really know how to dress up a salad. I ate a dish just like this in Paris a few years ago, and I’m thrilled with how my recreation turned out! Thanks to Laura Calder for the recipe, which is really just an extravagant excuse to eat bacon and eggs for lunch. All the fatty, breakfast-y glory of the bacon and eggs, served atop a salad that helps you rationalize away all your nutritional doubts. One suggestion: to avoid wilting leaves and a hardening egg, this salad should be eaten immediately after it’s prepared. I’m betting you won’t have a problem with that.

INGREDIENTS

3 strips bacon
1 egg
2 tbsp white wine vinegar, plush a splash
olive oil
2 cups arugula, washed and dried
salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

Cook bacon to your liking and remove from pan.

Crumble into pieces and set aside.

On low heat, add 2 tbsp vinegar to bacon fat and boil to reduce to about a tbsp or two.

Then add enough olive oil to the pan to make a dressing for the arugula and stir. Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, poach the egg: heat a pot of water with a splash of vinegar until it’s about to boil. Crack an egg into a ramekin. Stir the water gently so that it flows in a circle and gently pour in the egg. Poach until the white is cooked but the yolk is still runny. Remove from water with a slotted spoon.

Toss arugula in the pan of warm dressing.

Then, assemble! Arugula first, then bacon, then egg. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with parsley. Make sure to break the yolk over the arugula so that it becomes a sort of dressing of its own. Mmmm.

Watercress and Radish Salad with Mustard Jalapeño Vinaigrette.

The farmers market had some beautiful watercress and radishes on Saturday, so I picked up a few bunches of each, content in the knowledge that a yummy salad was in my future. Most of the time, I’m not a salad fan–or more accurately, not a lettuce fan. I’ve found that the salads in my life fall into two categories: boring or bad for you. That’s why, when I think of a salad like this one, which is neither boring nor bad for you, I get really excited and have to share it!

INGREDIENTS

2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp mustard
1/4 tsp orange marmalade
1/2 shallot, minced
1/2 tsp jalapeño, minced
1/2 tsp fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch watercress, rinsed
1 bunch radishes, rinsed and sliced
1/2 tomato, diced

DIRECTIONS

In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, mustard, marmalade, shallot, jalapeño, parsley, and salt and pepper.

In another bowl, combine watercress, radishes, and tomato. Toss all ingredients together.

Pile onto a plate and  sprinkle with more pepper. Enjoy!

Dutch Baby Pancake.

If you’ve ever been to the Walker Brothers Pancake House in Wilmette, you’ve seen one of these huge pancakes being delivered to a table near you. Maybe you’ve even tried this light and fluffy mass of puffed-up flour, butter, and eggs yourself. It’s the perfect thing to cook for company because it looks so impressive and unusual. But as you serve it to a chorus of compliments, smile silently to yourself, you big show-off, because it’s actually a ridiculously easy recipe.

INGREDIENTS

for pancake:
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup wheat flour
cinnamon to taste (we used about 1/8 tsp)
4 eggs
4 tbsp (half a stick) butter

for topping:
1 – 1 1/2 tbsp honey
1 cup yogurt
your favorite berries
powdered sugar
lemon juice

DIRECTIONS

Remove your oven’s top rack and preheat oven to 425 F–the pancake cooks on the middle rack and needs space to rise.

With the stove on medium heat, melt butter in a large cast-iron pan or oven-proof saute pan. While the butter melts, combine all other pancake ingredients in a mixing bowl.

When the oven is fully preheated, pour batter into pan over melted butter, but don’t stir the butter into the batter! They should remain separate.

Immediately place pan into the oven and bake for 22-25 minutes, so that the whole pancake cooks through. The middle and sides will start to brown a bit by the time the pancake is done. Remove from oven and cool about 1 minute.

While the pancake cools, mix together yogurt and honey, and wash and cut up berries.

Transfer pancake to a large plate. Top with yogurt, sprinkle with berries and lemon juice, and add a generous finishing touch of powdered sugar. Serves 2-3 (or a very hungry 1…).

Asparagus with Hard-boiled Egg Dressing.

Adapted from seven spoons, this alternative salad is unique, fresh, and bright. It’s perfect for dressing up a simple main dish, like a roasted chicken breast or mushroom ravioli. Welcome the spring with a vibrant and healthy asparagus dish, and watch out, or you might just eat the whole platter yourself.

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INGREDIENTS

2 hard boiled eggs, peeled and diced, whites and yolks separated
2 bunches asparagus, bases snapped off
1/8 tsp salt, plus more to taste
2 green onions, white parts finely diced, green parts sliced (keep them separate)
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp brown mustard
olive oil
red pepper flakes
parsley, chopped
pepper

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DIRECTIONS

In a medium-sized bowl (you’ll be mixing your dressing in here), stir together 1/8 tsp salt, the white parts of the green onion, and balsamic vinegar. Set aside.

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Fill a shallow pan with a bit less than an inch of water. Bring to a boil and add the asparagus. Cover and cook for 2 minutes, then remove from heat, drain, and place asparagus in an ice bath, so that they stay crisp and bright.

Combine mustard, half of the diced egg yolk, and 1 tbsp olive oil. Mix until smooth. While stirring, slowly add more olive oil until consistency is slightly runny. Stir in scallion mixture and egg whites, and add red pepper flakes, parsley, salt, and pepper to taste. Mix well.

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Place asparagus–either cold or hot, both are good!–on a platter and top with dressing. Garnish with remaining egg yolk and green parts of green onion. Happy St. Paddy’s Day!!