As a man who prefers food that has grazed rather than a plate of things on which they might have grazed, I have rarely invested much energy in making or consuming salads. That changed this weekend. I was making dinner for a dear friend and a couple of her friends and had been obsessing over my menu for days. I am not sure that the picture for this dish was even completed until I arrived at Whole Foods to get provisions. And then it hit me and I made what I am humbling calling “The Bestest Salad Ever Made with Awesomesauce Dressing.”
Since I haven’t been writing enough about food lately, I am happy to share the recipe with you.
The Bestest Salad Ever Made with Awesomesauce Dressing aka Shaved Asparagus and Arugula Salad with Black Forest Bacon and Poached Quail Egg
One Bunch of Asparagus
One bunch of Arugula
Three Pieces of Thick-cut Black Forest Bacon
Four Quail Eggs
Two Cipollini Onions
Freshly Cracked Pepper
Preheat an oven to 375 degrees
Bend one spear of asparagus to determine its breaking point and cut the rest of the bunch at that line. Using a thin peeler, peel or shave the skin from the bottom inch or so of each spear. Place all of the spears on a non-stick backing sheet and brush with a thin layer of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (by the by, I would rather have Rachel Ray give me a hand job while wearing a sandpaper glove than use the term Eee-Voo.) On the same sheet, you should have room to put the three strips of bacon which is a good thing because a little of the grease from the bacon with help to season the asparagus. Place the sheet in a 375 degree oven and roast for 8-10 minutes depending on thickness of the spears.
While the bacon and asparagus are cooking, tear the Arugula and place it into a large salad bowl; slice the Cipollini onions into thin ribbons and sauté in butter but do not caramelize them. Your goal is for the ribbons to be tender to the tooth but still have some bite. Start the water to poach the Quail eggs.
Once the spears are removed they need to be “Shocked” to stop the cooking process. Place them in a bath of ice water for ten seconds, remove them and pat dry. Cut the asparagus into 2-3 inch pieces and add to the bowl.
The bacon will need another 5-7 minutes to cook to the point of crispy. Once the bacon is ready, remove it from the pan and cut into ¼ to ½ inch strips and add to the bowl. Add a reasonable drizzle of salt (use less than you think you need because of the salt of the bacon and the basic principle of not being able to remove salt or any seasoning) and cracked pepper. Add about a tablespoon of Olive Oil and toss until well coated.
Divide the salad onto four salad plates forming mounds that have slight indentations at the top to hold the poached eggs.
If you’ve never poached an egg before, read Lemmonex’s excellent tutorial on the subject first. Quail eggs, because of their diminutive size, will cook in about 90 seconds. Place an egg atop each salad plate and serve immediately.
Disclaimers, Caveats, and Mea Cupla’s
While I consider this dish to be an RR original, I am sure that somewhere some chef has written a similar recipe.
While I consider this dish to be an RR original, it was inspired in small part by a terrific Asparagus dish I had recently at Restaurant Eve.
I do not think that this recipe is terribly difficult, but if you are unnerved by the lack of precise measurements, then it may not be the dish for you to try.
The recipe calls for four quail eggs, but you should get six as you are likely to ruin at least one.
I made dinner on Friday and Saturday nights this weekend. This was the only new dish that I did on either night. Amongst the nine courses over two nights, this was the star by country mile. It was even better than my lobster bisque.
I know that I stole Awesomesauce from LiLu, but since it’s in Urban Dictionary, I am pretty certain that she lifted it from somewhere else and is just the one peron I know who uses it.
That last admission may make me considerably less hip but I am fine with that.
I know that I am pretty lame for not having taken pictures of this salad or any of the dishes from the weekend – sorry I suck.