This Country Farmhouse Salad is a hearty combination of fresh baby spinach, asparagus, and sauteed mushrooms and shallots, topped with a buttery fried egg and garnished with crispy bacon. Perfect for a brunch or as dinner on a warm evening this salad strikes a pleasing balance between healthy greens and a touch of decadence.
I had two primary inspirations guiding my hand as I created this dish: the first is the classic French salad featuring frisee lettuce, lardons, and a poached egg; a salad I adore. Always served with croutons or a toasted baguette it is a delicious meal. The second inspiration was a warm mushroom salad I ate at the dinner following my best friend Gabriel's wedding. It was a tantalizing combination of simple flavors that combined to form an exquisite appetizer. I was actually sad to see the bottom of my plate.
Start with a variety of mushrooms for the most nuanced flavor in the final dish. I used oyster mushrooms and white mushrooms but you can add crimini or baby portabellas, shitake or chantrelles - whatever you can find and afford.
If you prefer to make this dish lighter you can omit the bacon (but perhaps add some caramelized onion strings) and poach the egg instead of frying it. In this recipe the measurements are guidelines. Use your own tastes as your guide.
Country Farmhouse Salad ~ serves 2
3 cups baby spinach, washed and dried
2 cups mushrooms, minced
1/2 cup shallots, minced
2 tablespoons half & half
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 clove garlic, minced
2-4 slices bacon
1 teaspoon butter
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
salt & pepper
Cook bacon in a skillet to desired crispness. Remove and drain on paper towels. Add minced shallot to bacon fat and sauté until soft. Add minced mushrooms, season with salt, and cook until water begins to release. Add minced garlic and continue cooking until mushrooms are cooked down. Add thyme and half & half. Remove to a bowl.
Add olive oil and fry asparagus to desired doneness. Remove asparagus from skillet, melt butter and fry eggs. While eggs are cooking whisk together the dressing and arrange spinach on a platter. Top with mushrooms, bacon, asparagus and add dressing. Top with eggs and serve.
Melt from the buttery, bacony, earthy, deliciousness that is this salad. Try not to cry when you see the bottom of the plate.