Weekends are made for leisurely, casual meals. It seems to me that brunch has been reinvented of late; it’s no longer a mish-mash of dishes designed to use a restaurant’s weekly leftovers. Hopefully the old days of hotel buffet steam tables have been replaced with smart, chic cafes and bistros serving as perfect a menu for brunch as they would any other day of the week.
But, if you feel inclined to entertain at home on a Sunday, keep this hearty salad in mind. Its classic flavors are perfect for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or a light dinner. Assertively-flavored greens and wedges of roasted beets get tossed together and topped with chunks of hot-smoked salmon and a soft-cooked egg. A little drizzle of warm mustard-shallot dressing adds a punch of flavor and wilts the greens, ever so slightly. Serve this with toasted bagels or your choice of crusty bread or rolls. Fresh seasonal fruit, such as mandarin oranges or crisp apples, makes a great finish to the meal. And you won’t feel like you need to nap the rest of the day away after enjoying this meal. It’s quick and easy to prepare, and all the ingredients are readily available in your supermarket. I’m having another go at brunch with this one. Why don’t you join me?
The Weekend Kitchen: Warm Salad of Soft-Cooked Eggs and Smoked Salmon
- A large handful of baby spinach and baby arugula leaves, for each serving of salad
- 1 small shallot, finely minced
- 1½ tablespoons white wine or Champagne vinegar
- A large pinch of sugar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- A pinch of kosher salt
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill leaves
- 2 small roasted beets, peeled and quartered, cut into small wedges
- 4 to 6 ounces hot-smoked salmon, skin removed and broken into large flakes (you could also use smoked trout or whitefish, if you prefer)
- 4 large eggs
- Toasted bagels, bread or rolls, to serve alongside the salad
- In a medium bowl toss together the greens and half the minced shallot. Keep cool while you prep the remainder of the ingredients.
- In a small saucepan combine the vinegar, sugar, mustard, and salt. Whisk in the olive oil and the cream to form a smooth emulsified dressing. Add the chopped dill and the remaining minced shallot and check the seasoning. Set aside close to the stove top.
- Put the eggs in a saucepan of cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a slightly less vigorous boil and cook for 3 minutes. In the meantime set the saucepan of dressing over a low heat and warm gently, whisking from time to time.
- Arrange a quarter of the greens on each of four salad plates. Scatter over a quarter of the beets and a quarter of the flaked salmon. When the eggs are cooked, quickly peel them and set one atop each salad. Drizzle with a generous portion of the warm dressing and serve with the toasted bagels.