Summer Salad With Poached Egg

by | Jun 16, 2010
Poached Egg Salad

Poached Egg Salad

Several weeks ago I wrote about how to make your salads more satisfying by adding extra protein, fat and whole grains. In this recipe I experiment with poaching eggs, which turned out to be easier than I expected.

To me poached eggs have always seemed like an impossible delicacy best left to San Francisco’s finest brunching establishments. The few times I tried poaching eggs before turned out to be a disaster, so I erroneously assumed the skills required were beyond my grasp.

Turns out I just wasn’t doing it right and it is actually pretty easy.

As you might guess, my fear of cooking poached eggs was conquered by the wisdom of Mark Bittman in his book How To Cook Everything. For me the problem was in the temperature of the water. To keep the eggs from being torn apart by boiling bubbles, the temperature must be kept just below the boiling point.

Problem solved.

Summer Salad With Poached Egg

Ingredients:

  • Gem lettuces
  • Treviso (or radicchio)
  • Summer tomato
  • Yellow crooked neck squash
  • Mediterranean cucumber
  • Avocado
  • French green lentils (cooked)
  • Green onion
  • Basil
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Dijon mustard
  • Farm fresh eggs
  • White vinegar
  • Salt and pepper

For the eggs, start heating a deep skillet or shallow pot with 1 inch deep water. Add 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp white vinegar. Heat the water until it barely bubbles, around 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

For salads I recommend using your best farmers market greens, but anything colorful you can find will work (this salad is wonderful with frisée). The list above is what I used, but obviously whatever you have around is fine.

I’m a big fan of adding raw summer squash to salads, but the quality of the squash is very important if you are eating it raw. The fresher the better.

Chop your greens and vegetables while your water is heating and prepare your salad dressing. With eggs I love to use a red wine Dijon vinaigrette. Something about the mustard and egg combination is divine.

My vinaigrette recipe is as simple as it gets:

Add 1/4 cup high-quality extra virgin olive oil and just under 1/4 cup red wine vinegar. Add 1-2 tsp Dijon mustard to taste, salt and pepper to taste and whisk with a fork for a few seconds. Taste and adjust the condiments until you like it.

Personally I do not think it is necessary to add sugar to salad dressing, but some people do. You can also add 1 tsp of finely diced shallots or some minced garlic if you want extra flavor.

In a large bowl, toss your vegetables with your dressing. After this add your lentils (or brown rice or nuts), and toss again. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Use tongs to plate your salad and get ready to prep your eggs.

Rinse your eggs and crack them one at a time into a small bowl or large serving spoon. Gently lower each egg into the warm water and release it into the pan (use a larger pan for batches greater than 2). Allow the egg to cook until the yolk has filmed over and the white is set, about 3-5 minutes.

Remove egg with a slotted spoon, drain off water and carefully place the egg on top of your salad. Garnish with pepper and serve immediately. Poached eggs go particularly nicely with sour toast.

Do you have any tips for poaching eggs?

Originally published June 24, 2009.

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16 Responses to “Summer Salad With Poached Egg”

  1. Cindy says:

    Oh wow. This really makes me drool. I have never thought about having a poached egg on a salad. Some mango or cherries might be nice in there as well.

  2. Allie says:

    Reminds me of a salad I made two weeks ago….I roasted red beets and potatoes with rosemary and olive oil, put them on top of some red leaf lettuce tossed with dressing made from lemon juice, olive oil, rosemary and minced garlic, and then topped the salad with a fried egg. Amazing!
    Thanks to Summer Tomato for the fried egg part. I’ve always loved hard boiled eggs on salad but I never thought to add a fried or poached egg. Slightly warmed salads in general are new to me, and I’m really enjoying experimenting with them.

  3. Katie says:

    Wow Darya, that really looks delicious, and healthy! I love how you always turn mundane things (like lettuce and eggs) into tasty looking dishes that I want to reach through my screen and put on my table.

  4. Ina says:

    I love poached eggs – great idea adding them atop a salad! When poaching, a little white vinegar in the water seems to help hold the eggs together!

  5. Sarahla says:

    This looks great. Salads with poached eggs are a staple in my house. My husband is a vegetarian and I’m not, and I like to make one dinner for us both. Poached eggs on whatever beautiful greens and veggies we have is the perfect compromise when I’ve grown tired of tofu-like proteins.

  6. This is a really pretty salad! I love the idea of the runny yolk dripping onto the fresh greens.

  7. Kasey says:

    Looks beautiful! I just bought a dozen farm-fresh eggs-am excited to put them to use in some beautiful salads!

  8. Carine says:

    I also love poached eggs.
    Maybe you can add some fresh basil leaves, chives, oregano or Parmesan shavings on the top of your salad.

  9. Philip says:

    Darya, you are right about not using boiling water. This was my problem for awhile. However, its also not so good to try to poach eggs in water that isn’t hot enough, because the cooking time is unpredictable. Rather than try to guess when “hot enough” is, I bring the water just to a boil, then turn the heat down slightly. When its just right, and if you look closely, you can see the surface of the water “shivering” as Julia Child called it.

    Fresher eggs seem to hold together better than older ones.

    Eggs can be poached in advance, allowed to cool, refrigerated, and reheated in boiling water for 90 seconds. I do this when I have a crowd for breakfast and want to serve Eggs Benedict.

  10. Stephen Wise says:

    You had me at Avocado.

  11. Natalie says:

    How delicious this sounds!! I’ve never thought to put lentils in a salad! Sounds like it would definitely pack an extra fiber and protein punch. I’m definitely going to try this one. As far as poaching eggs go, thank you for the secret! I tried poaching eggs recently with violently boiling water, and it was just a mess. I have heard that making a whirlpool before dropping the egg in helps the egg wrap around itself and stays together nicely.

  12. Matt says:

    I think this recipe looks fantastic!

    One minor technical website problem, though: no offense, but I want to print the recipe without your header and a sidebars, but your print button fails every time, saying it can’t find the article (which is weird, because I’m reading it right now :) ).

    Just thought you might want to know.

  13. Arista says:

    My husband made us this for dinner the other night and it was delicious! It is the perfect light, summer dinner. It also has the protein we vegetarians need, and the egg and the avocado make it especially satisfying. I really like the yellow summer squash in it, too. I never think to put squash in salads, but it adds just the right touch to it, especially since yellow squash is in season now and has the right texture. Thanks for this lovely recipe; I have already passed it along!

  14. Brenda says:

    I’ve been searching for years for the perfect poached egg. Up until last night, my best imperfect method was to add vinegar and swirl the water. It led to a passable egg, tasty, not quite as pretty as i like.

    Then as usual, Julia Child solved my problem. This is FOOLPROOF.

    Take your egg, prick a tiny hole in the fat end so the air bubble doesn’t get trapped and explode the egg. Drop it in boiling water for exactly ten seconds, then remove with a slotted spoon. Lower your water temperature to that barest of simmers, barely a bubble escaping, then crack your parboiled egg into the water. The parboiling cooks the white just barely, but thickens it enough that the whole egg holds together into a picture perfect pouch without any tinkering with swirling and almost no white escapes.

    Best method ever.

  15. James says:

    Equal parts oil and vinegar? Wow, how can you stand that much acidity?

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