Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Looking at Snow, Cooking for Spring

After spending 2 weeks in New Jersey, first in Cape May for our wedding and then in Parsippany for her work, it's been rather unpleasant to return to the single digits (and sometimes those in the negative) & huge heaps of snow showing no sign of melting. There was no snow at all in Cape May, so we got spoilt. So, last night, in the hopes of piquing Spring's interest, I made a very light and spring-like supper. I started us with a mixed greens salad with lardons and poached eggs in a tarragon shallot vinaigrette. Then, we went on to chicken salad with smoked almonds on thin white bread. We'd had green eggs (scrambled with lots of chives) & ham Sunday for Dr. Seuss Day and dessert was honeydew melon, so we finished that, as well.

I've been intimidated by poaching eggs and have never tried it without my egg poaching set, which just didn't do a proper job. So, I decided to plunge in and try it. It was astonishingly simple and the eggs turned out perfectly! I'm pretty silly about some of my cooking intimidations.

Mixed Greens with Lardons & Poached Eggs
4 strips thick-cut bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4" wide strips
2 tbsp. vinegar (I used cider vinegar because I couldn't find my white)
2 eggs
2 tbsp. finely-chopped shallots (can sub white onions)
1 tbsp. tarragon vinegar
A pinch each salt & pepper
Mixed greens, enough for 2

Cook bacon golden brown. Set aside, in pan. Fill small skillet with about an inch of warm (not hot) water. Fill a large pan halfway with water. Add a pinch of salt and the vinegar. Bring just barely to a simmer. Break each egg into its own very small bowl or cup. Slide eggs into simmering water and poach at a very gentle simmer until whites are firm, but yolks are runny, about 3-4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, place eggs gently in skillet of warm water. Reheat bacon and add shallots to bacon & fat. Cook, stirring, a minute or so. Add vinegar and boil for about 5 seconds. Pour over the mixed greens and toss well. Sprinkle with salt & pepper. Divide between 2 plates. Top each with a poached egg, making sure to drain egg well in slotted spoon before placing on salad. Serves 2. This salad was inspired by one in the Gourmet Cookbook.

Chicken Salad with Smoked Almonds
32 oz. chicken broth
2 lb. chicken breasts (skinless, boneless)
1 c. mayonnaise
1/4 c. minced shallots
1 tsp. minced tarragon
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt & pepper, to taste
1/2 c. chopped smoked almonds

Bring stock to a boil in a 12" skillet. Add chicken and poach at a very gentle simmer, turning once, 7-10 minutes, until cooked through. Allow to cool 15-20 minutes. Chop & mix with the rest of the ingredients. Good by itself or on sandwiches. I like this on the very thin Pepperidge Farm white bread. It makes perfect tea sandwiches, as well, which is what the original recipe (also from the Gourmet Cookbook) intends. Serves 2 for supper, with plenty left for lunch the next day, or 4 for one meal. Jeannene has declared this the best chicken salad she's ever had in her life. 


Elizabeth Herr said...

That's a very pretty poached egg!

Daria de la Luna said...

Why, thank you!