By Kelly Cartledge
With the promise of New Year resolutions looming, I am settling comfortably into my annual promise to eat better foods and take better care of my body. Again. Everyone has their secret weapons to take better care of ourselves, whether it is a tried and true exercise regiment or a spiritual cleansing that gives the prospect of a better way to live. (Eat, Pray, Love comes to mind.) My arsenal includes recipes that allow me to cook food in a way that tastes like I am cheating. There are great publications out there that have taught me the tricks of this trade, usually through technique and new ingredients.
The plan of attack for my own personal battle of the bulge usually consists of replacing one meal with a salad, eating smaller meals more frequently and blah, blah, blah (You can fill in the rest with the words found on any poster hanging in the school nurse’s office. I believe they contain something about a pyramid or trapezoid of food.) But every once in a while I come across a wonderful concept that fulfills these cliche needs of mine so well that I can’t help but be excited about the blah, blah, blah.
I find that dressing a salad can become mundane after about a month. Oh sure, I explore the gamut of toppings from edamame to raspberries, but then I just seem to lose interest. My relationship with salad is similar to the relationship with the guy you date after a bad break-up (probably when you were in college.) He’s very nice, safe, treats you right, but for some reason, eventually, you can’t wait to go to a biker bar and eat a cheeseburger. But one ingredient would change my relationship with salad forever. It was an over-easy egg.
Now before you turn your cheek, let me remind you that we’ve all had a hardboiled egg crumbled over a salad, so it isn’t that weird -most may have even had a true caesar salad prepared with raw egg in the dressing. However, the secret to this particular egg is that it is cooked with the dressing in mind- it is delicious, easy and totally gluten-free. Here are a few pointers on how to put this salad together.
1.) Choose a firm lettuce form the endive family, like a frisée or raw kale if that’s your thing. Any spring mix with a bit of firm lettuce will work well.
2.) Add an acid to the lettuce once it is plated. My favorite is lemon for this particular combination- it just sings! But you can use lime, orange or any type of vinegar (although a spray bottle is best to apply the vinegar and get alight, even coating.)
3.) Add your seasoning and herbs next. I use a pinch of kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper, fresh chives, cilantro, or basil leaves.
4.) Fry your egg over-easy and lay it lightly atop your plated lettuce. Break the yolk and toss the salad. Heaven! The creamy yolk adds decadence galore to the acid and almost creates an emulsion of sorts. The best part is you didn’t even have to use a carafe shaker! I have even topped this salad with a bit of bacon for breakfast with rave reviews.
Happy New Year to all and be well!