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I was hungry. Really hungry. And I wanted something familiar, homey. And I felt brazen. So I made a fried egg salad. It sounded yummy. Comfortable and weird. What the heck, food is food.

I grabbed greens, eggs, all the random veggies I had that made sense, and ingredients for a yummy honey mustard vinaigrette. I wanted tang and sweet — sharp cheddar, salty egg, delicious greens. It all sounded good. So I slapped it all together.

Recipe for Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette and Fried Egg

Basic ingredients, ready for action. Egg and butter not depicted.

Ingredients:
(Lunch salad, serves one.)
4 cups of mixed baby greens.
15 baby carrots, cut into thirds.
1 tomato, chopped.
1 fistful of fresh italian parsley, chopped.
1 fistful of fresh chives, chopped.
2 T grated extra sharp cheddar.
2 large eggs.
1 tsp butter.
Freshly cracked pepper, to taste.

Vinaigrette or Citronette:
(Use only what you need. Refrigerate extra for a couple of days.)
3 T extra virgin olive oil.
1 T red wine vinegar.
1 tsp mustard.
1 tsp honey.
Pinch of salt, to taste.

I made my bed of greens, and I chopped the carrots and tomatoes that would lie in it. I added my herbs. I mixed up my vinaigrette. And I put the butter in my ancient cast iron pan, and fried my egg, over medium, just like I like it. Cook the whites, leave the yolk super juicy. I tossed the egg on top of the salad, drizzled the dressing over it all, mixed it up with my fork, and gobbled it up.

Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette with Fried Egg

Here it is, dressing drizzled over the egg, all juicy and delicious and ready to be busted open.


The Verdict:
I loved this. So much. So much, it’s been hard to think of anything interesting enough to follow it up with. The cheese got a little melty with the hot egg. The chives added that delicious hint of oniony heaven. The egg… The juicy, delicious, amazing egg. The yolk mixed with the dressing and coated the leaves. The crispy edges of the egg whites added this beguiling crunch. The carrots helped crunchify it even more, while the tomato juices blended with the egg yolk and the honey mustard vinaigrette perfectly.

Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette and Fried Egg, Ready to Eat

Time to devour it!

This salad? This is exactly why I play in the kitchen. When it works, it works. And I don’t just mean that the recipe is perfect, I mean that what you really want, what you crave, is exactly what you create, and you get to eat it, and it is just, well, right. It was just right. This salad, it was exactly what my weird brain craved, and my mouth was happy, and my tummy was full, and it was perfect.

Make it a Meal:
Done.

Pack it to Go:
Not going to happen. Sorry, but unless it’s easy for you to pack a raw egg and fry it at work (or wherever you eat your packed lunch) this one isn’t going to go anywhere. Eat it at home, where you have your fully functioning kitchen, and enjoy it.

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Going for a quick run this morning left me no time for salad prep before my husband left for work. He wasn’t fazed — he fends for himself with ease. But not doing the prep for him meant I didn’t do it at all until it was lunchtime. Luckily, I had my mother-in-law over in the morning to work with my kids, so I wound up with more time to play in the kitchen while also being a lot more awake — I was making salad at 11:30 AM instead of before 8:00 AM. Inspired by a small jar of homemade bacon bits (leftover from the kids Carbonara lunch yesterday) I decided to try my hand, once again, at making a ranch dressing that I actually like.

Playing with Buttermilke Ranch Vinaigrette

Salad ingredients, gathered together and ready to prep.

Ingredients:
(Serves one for lunch.)
1/2 heart of romaine, chopped.
2 mushrooms, quartered.
1 carrot, sliced.
1/4 English cucumber, quartered lengthwise and sliced.
1/2 apple, quartered and sliced widthwise.
1/2 avocado, quartered and sliced.
1 scallions, sliced.
1/8 cup of crispy bacon, crumbled.

Buttermilk Ranch Vinaigrette, Take One:
(Use what you need, refrigerate any extra and use it within a few days.)
1 T rice wine vinegar.
2 T buttermilk.
2 T extra virgin olive oil.
1 small clove of garlic, smashed and minced.
1/2 tsp maple syrup.
1 generous pinch of salt, to taste.

I doubled the salad ingredients listed above and assembled them in two separate bowls, one for my mother-in-law, and one for me. I mixed up one batch of the dressing, since I like to go light with creamy dressings, and then I started chopping. It took a while, since I also had french toast and grilled cheese on the stove for the kids, but eventually both bowls were full of salad. I made sure to cut the avocado right before serving, so it would be lovely and green when we ate it.

Playing with Buttermilk Ranch Vinaigrette, Ceramic Bowl

Here is one of the finished salads, in a kidmade ceramic bowl.

The Verdict:
Not exactly ranch dressing, but damn tasty. It’s hard to go wrong with bacon and avocado. I wanted to mix arugula in as well, since I tend to like salads with a little more green in them and I only had one lonely heart of romaine left, but my arugula had gone slimy. Trader Joe’s is great for candied walnuts. Not so good for fresh produce. I think that was actually for the best though, since the romaine worked really well with the creamy dressing. Arugula would’ve been a bit too peppery and strong, I think. I loved the apple, bacon, avocado, carrots, mushrooms… Okay, I really liked everything about this salad. Strong flavors. Salty and sweet. Excellent crunch, with lush nibbles of avocado and that creamy dressing to smooth it out. Each bite was unique. Very fun, colorful, and delicious. My mother-in-law was appreciative, and I think she really adored the little crunchy bacon bits.

Playing with Buttermilk Ranch Vinaigrette, Glass Bowl

Here is the other salad, beautifully colorful in a simple glass bowl.

Make it a Meal:
Done. I would’ve happily tossed some chicken breast in if I’d had any on hand, but it was fine on it’s own.

Pack it to Go:
This one would work really well packed to go — just make sure you’ve got a jar large enough to hold the apple and the avocado in with the dressing. Brown apples and avocados are no good, and both will stay fresh in the acidic dressing. The avocado will create more thickness in the dressing, and you’ll have less chunks on the fork, but it will still taste delicious. If you really want the avocado chunky, half an avocado, still in the skin, travels relatively well. You’ll have the one brown side, which you can trim off or ignore, but the rest of it will be perfect. Of course, if you’re packing salads for two people who will be eating at the same time and place, you can leave the avocado untouched until you’re ready to eat, and cut it into the salad at that point. And if you’re a real avocado freak (yes, like me) you can just give yourself extra avocado. This salad has enough crunch to handle all that creaminess. Your skin and brain won’t mind the extra healthy fats, either.

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