Sunday, April 20, 2008

Green salad with eggs, bacon and croutons

Already the end of the weekend and I feel like it went by so fast! Juan and I went to our friends' party on Saturday. My cranberries, blue cheese and roasted pecans hearts were a success. So soft, and so sweet, yet crunchy and a little strong from the blue cheese..... Hmmmmm, all that spread on crackers. Oh what a treat! I'll have to tell you more about it another time.

Well anyway today we met N. for lunch at the Steeping Room. It was really nice. I had a cup of white tea with a roast beef sandwich (on warm, soft and crunchy ciabatta bread). They put some aioli on the bread ( "aioli" is a mayonnaise seasoned with garlic, typical from the South of France. It can also be a dish all on its own.... hmmm, that makes me think... I'd like to try to make that one day!) as well as roasted bell peppers. What I enjoyed _and what I respect in cooking anywhere_ was the good quality of the ingredients. Now I'm curious to go back and try some other items on their menu!

Since the Steeping Room is close to Sur La Table (an awesome store that has lots of kitchen products), we went in to buy a Brioche mould. Brioche is very rich buttery bread in France and we typically eat it for breakfast, at least that's how I've always done it! I love it toasted with some fruit jam on it or even better: with Nutella! I am on version #2 of brioche-making and I seriously needed a mould. I just think it's prettier than a loaf shape.

I was so excited about my new purchase that I decided I would try out the mould right away! The dough is in its raising process now and I must admit, I feel pretty good about it so far. Patience, patience is all I have to say... I will let you know how it turns out!

And then for dinner tonight I was craving a hearty salad so I mixed some baby oak leaves with bacon, hard boiled eggs, croutons and a very garlicky vinaigrette. My oh my! I always remember my Meme (that's another word for "Nana" in French) making it. Most of the time she wouldn't even use bacon (in France, we use lardons, which is basically salt pork, cubed). But what I loved the most was the garlic flavor. She'd usually let the crushed garlic sit in the vinaigrette, at the bottom of the salad bowl.

For two persons:
  • Hard boil 2 eggs for exactly 10 minutes. I usually throw my eggs in a bowl of ice water to cool off. It also ensures that the yolk will stay very yellow. We don't want the blackish/greenish edges, now do we?
  • crush 2 garlic cloves (let the garlic sit for 5 minutes max. in the vinaigrette. It will cut the strong taste a little).
  • for the vinaigrette I mixed 1 teaspoon of French mustard, 3 teaspoons of white wine vinegar, 4 teaspoons of olive oil. Salt and Pepper. Make sure you put the salt with the vinegar and the mustard. It will dissolve better. THEN, add the oil, slowly.
  • I made some croutons by cubing some bread and drizzled it with olive oil. I broiled it for about 2 to 3 minutes, until brown. I only had freshly baked seven grain bread and did not want to go back to the store to buy a baguette. It worked very well!
  • I cooked some thick cut bacon that I cut to 3/4 inch cubes. I let it drain and cool off on paper towel.
  • To assemble, I cut the cooled eggs in halves, then in fourths. I drop then in the vinaigrette/garlic mixture. I add the salad, the bacon and the croutons on top. Stir and make sure you get everything bits at the bottom! You don't want to have all the croutons hang out on their own at the bottom of the bowl!
  • Bon Appetit!
(My grandma often used dandelion leaves for the salad. It is bitter but it makes for a nice contrast with the soft taste of the eggs, the bacon and the croutons. )


mcsteans said...

That sounds delicious! I'll have to try it. I've been getting tired of my boring salads :)

Great blog, Letty!

Laetitia said...

Thanks Ryan! I just love this salad. I mean who does not like BACON in a dish? :)

mcsteans said...

This is actually Jamie :)

'mcsteans' is my nickname because my maiden name is McBride.

Laetitia said...

My mistake! Well, thank you Jamie :) I hope I get to share more salads with you. I have quite a few up my sleeve ;)