Kitchen Sink Salad with Poached Eggs

From City Palateer, Kathy Richardier

2014 Jul/Aug

I don’t think anyone eats more salad as supper than I do. Invariably my salads are composed of whatever happens to be hanging around the fridge, but they always contain lots of varieties of greens, with additions of fruit, protein and, likely, starch. This is my “recipe” tossed together in a large bowl:

Greens: kale torn up small – I love the “tough” crispness of kale, but only in small pieces – other leafy lettuces, peppery arugula, radicchio, Belgian endive, pea shoot tops and Co-op stores now sell locally grown micro-greens.

Vegetables: leftover veg, like asparagus, potatoes, roasted cauliflower, are always good in a supper salad. Raw sugar snap peas, canned corn. I get mini-San Marzano tomatoes from Lina’s Italian Market, halve and roast them, and toss them into the mix. Sweet red, orange, yellow peppers chopped into small pieces. You get the drift… leftover veg and whatever other veg you love. Don’t forget the avocado – it tastes good and is good for you.

Nuts and dried fruit: I always have a collection of toasted walnuts, almonds and pecans on hand and toss them into the mix along with dried cranberries.

Starch: I usually have croutons on hand, so I toss a handful into the salad for crunch. Often you can find them at your fave bakery, made from the unsold bread. It’s easy to make your own by cutting old bread into cubes, tossing them in a bit of olive oil and some dried herbs, then toasting them in the oven.

Fresh fruit: I like to cut up apples and add them to the mix.

Protein: if I have flavourful fromage bleu on hand, that goes on top after the salad is tossed, along with one or two poached eggs, sometimes fried, if I don’t feel like fussing with the poaching. If I have grilled or otherwise cooked chicken, shrimp, beef, pork, duck or lobster on hand, I use it instead of eggs by slicing it and laying it artistically across the top.

Vinaigrette: often, I just sprinkle on some salt and fresh ground pepper, then walnut oil or perhaps blood orange-infused olive oil and white or red balsamic vinegar or a fruit-based vinegar and toss. Sometimes I make a vinaigrette with a grainy mustard base, lemon juice or vinegar, a splash of maple syrup, salt and pepper and a luscious, fruity olive oil. Sometimes I whisk jam into the dressing in place of the maple syrup for that hit of sweetness.

Pretty colour: in the season of the pomegranate, there’s nothing as pretty as pomegranate seeds flung overtop of your salad.

Such a good feed! I think I’ll make one right now. Never does everything listed go into one salad, but lots of it does. And sometimes, if there’s too much salad, I have marinated salad for lunch the next day with fresh ingredients tossed in.