RECIPE: Bacon and eggs and asparagus salad (video)

SHARE RECIPE: Bacon and eggs and asparagus salad (video)
SHARE RECIPE: Bacon and eggs and asparagus salad (video)

BY JUDITH DUNBAR HINES | FOR THE SUN-TIMES

I love late March for many reasons, not the least of which is that spring is truly just around the corner. At the market, baby spinach begins to show up. As a cool weather crop, it is often the first of the garden greens available. And of course, asparagus is always a major “tell,” greeted with joy by cooks who put it on every plate, morning, noon and night.

Surely you’ve noticed that eggs are having their moment, appearing atop bowls of noodles, rice, burgers, salads and soups. For Easter brunch, or just to celebrate the season, poach some yourself and slide them on top of this salad.

If you have poached eggs unsuccessfully in the past, here is a trick you will want to use: break an egg into a tea strainer over a small bowl. The watery part of the white will fall through. Then gently slip the remaining white and yolk into the boiling water. Doing this eliminates those trailing wisps of white and your egg will appear trim and neat on the plate.

Work quickly to get them all into the water at about the same time, simmering all four of the eggs for 3 minutes to get a slightly firm outer white with a soft runny yolk, which will drizzle into the salad and become part of the dressing as diners break into the egg topping.

Showcasing this award-winning combo of bacon and eggs with asparagus makes this a salad to be served as a separate course or as a brunch, lunch or supper main. Dig in – it’s almost spring!

IT’S ALMOST SPRING SALAD

Serves 4

2 strips extra thick lean bacon

12 asparagus spears, trimmed

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 Tablespoons olive oil

¼ teaspoon Dijon style mustard

½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper

¼ teaspoon salt

5 cups baby spinach

4 eggs

Cut bacon strips crosswise into ¾” pieces. Cook in a heavy skillet until golden brown and lightly crisp. Drain on paper towels.

Heat 2” of boiling water in a wide skillet and cook asparagus 3 – 4 minutes to crisp tender. Drop into a bowl of cold water to cool. Drain on paper towels.

In a small tightly lidded jar, combine garlic, vinegar, oil, mustard and salt and pepper and shake well.

Half fill a 4-quart pot with water and when it boils, lower heat to a simmer and add ½ teaspoon vinegar. Crack eggs individually into small custard cups and carefully ease the eggs into the water, one at a time. Use a spoon to gather the white around the yolk of each egg and continue to simmer for 3 minutes.

While water heats and eggs cook, assemble the salad on serving plates: mound greens in the center, arrange asparagus over the greens and sprinkle with the bacon. Drizzle with the vinaigrette.

Carefully lift each egg from the water with a slotted spoon to place on top of each salad, add a grind of fresh black pepper and serve immediately.

LOCAL ATTRACTION features the best of regional produce and products and hopes home cooks will do the same. Judith Dunbar Hines is a cooking teacher, tour guide, writer and culinary consultant in Chicago http://www.judithdunbarhines.com

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