Garden Fresh Salad with Shirred Eggs and Vinaigrette

Seasons: 

Courtesy of Lucinda Hutson

Use a good, fruity olive oil and high-quality white or Champagne vinegar. You can leave out the anchovies if you’re not a fan—just use a little less lemon juice.

Easy

Garden Fresh Salad with Shirred Eggs and Vinaigrette

Ingredients

For 1 Batch(es)

Cream

  • For the Vinaigrette:
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 anchovies, mashed
  • 3 tablespoons white or Champagne vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, and some of the zest
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoons fresh lemon thyme, tarragon and/or marjoram, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 pinches Pinch of cayenne
  • 1/2 cups (scant), olive oil
  • 1 Sliced red or green onions, to garnish

Garden Fresh Salad with Shirred Eggs and Vinaigrette Directions

  1. To make the salad, pick an assortment of spring salad greens of various hues and textures. Add a big handful of tender sprigs of fragrant herbs, and don’t forget salad burnet. Rinse and spin the greens, dry then chill while preparing the other ingredients.
  2. Now for the fun part! Make shirred eggs simply, like our grandmothers did, or partially fill the bottom of buttered ramekins with whatever suits your fancy: crumbled bacon, a thin slice of prosciutto, smoked salmon or trout, a few spoonfuls of roasted veggies, sautéed asparagus, caramelized shallots or onions.
  3. Whether the salad is served as a first course or a main dish may determine whether one or two eggs per serving are used. Adjust ingredients and cooking times accordingly.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350° and place a rack in the middle.
  5. Crack the egg(s) into the ramekins over the other ingredients without disturbing the yolks and season with salt, pepper and a pinch of cayenne. Top with a tablespoon of half-and-half or cream and a sprinkling of grated cheese, if you wish (I like Gruyère, shredded Parmesan or a bit of chèvre). Sprinkle with snippets of thyme, chives or parsley and a pinch of paprika, and bake until the egg whites are set and the yolks still runny—about 15 to 20 minutes. Check often, though, and rotate the ramekins as needed.
  6. Some may prefer to prepare a water bath instead, which prevents overcooking and a rubbery egg texture. Do this by setting the ramekins inside a larger casserole dish and adding just enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins before baking.
  7. Prepare the vinaigrette. Crush the garlic and add to the anchovies. Add the remaining ingredients—whisking in the olive oil at the end to emulsify.
  8. Lightly toss the greens with the vinaigrette and mound on chilled salad plates. Sprinkle with chopped green onions or thin slices of red onion.
  9. If the eggs are just out of the oven, let them set for a minute, then scoop them out of the ramekins and place atop each salad.
  10. Garnish with one or more kinds of edible flowers and fragrant, tender herb sprigs. Serve with crostini, toast points or croissants, or pile the ingredients between slices of toasted bread for a noteworthy sandwich. And, of course, shirred eggs taste delicious when eaten right out of the ramekin.

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