Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Grilled Veggie Salad with Poached Egg: The Recipe

Check out this recipe on my new and improved website: thewalkingcookbook.com

Poached eggs: high protein, low calorie, delicious inside and out
I might cry... two of my roommates are on a diet!

They are sweet enough to make Family Dinner day their cheat day, but since we have dining out plans next week I must adapt FamDin to their 4-Hour Body restrictions: no carbs, little oil, no dairy. God help me! Fortunately, there are some yummy things that exist in this realm of eating, so rather than stressing over finding a recipe that meets all of the requirements, I am making one up.

When I was in Charleston, SC, I went to McCrady's restaurant for their four-course dinner. Not only were the menu items locally sourced, but they were delectably prepared and described as they were brought to my table (this is my version of whispering sweet nothings in my ear). One of my favorite courses was the appetizer featuring a poached egg. Since eating that first course, I have been mildly obsessed with poaching eggs. This recipe will tap into my adoration for runny egg yolk at all hours of the day.

This salad came together through a number of factors. First, I love my indoor grill, so I get to use it for this recipe. Second, I want something versatile (aka: works for the dieters and for me). Finally, I adore vegetables and often leave them as a side dish in my Walking Cookbook recipes, so this one shines the spotlight right on the fiber-rich, mineral-packed veggies.

The Recipe: Grilled Veggie Salad with Poached Egg, from The Walking Cookbook, dressing recipe adapted from Epicurious
Yield: 8 servings

Salad Ingredients:
  • 4 heads endive, halved
  • 24 spears of asparagus, cut into 5" stems
  • 24 mushrooms, cut in half
  • 1 leek, white part only, sliced 1/2" thick at a diagonal
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, sliced into large disks
  • 2 large carrots, cut into sixths lengthwise (like matchsticks)
  • 4 tbsp safflower oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 8 eggs
Dressing Ingredients:
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 shallot, finely minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp chopped chives
  • 1 tbsp chopped basil
  • 1 tbsp chopped dill
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Optional Ingredients: 
  • Thick slices of country bread, toasted
  • Grilled chicken breast
  • Grilled shrimp/salmon
  • Avocado
  • Make the dressing in advance. Combine the first ten dressing ingredients in a bowl. Gradually whisk in the oil. Season with salt and pepper. Let sit at room temperature for up to 2 hours.
  • Combine asparagus, carrots, and cauliflower and toss in 2 tbsp safflower oil. Add salt and pepper.
  • Combine mushrooms and leeks in a separate bowl and toss with 1 tbsp safflower oil. Add salt and pepper.
  • Brush the flat side of each half-head of endive with safflower oil. Add salt and pepper. 
  • Heat a grill pan over medium high heat. Brush with safflower oil.
  • When the pan is hot, add the asparagus, carrots, and cauliflower discs. Grill until dark char marks appear on the bottom side, then flip and repeat.
  • Move the grilled vegetables to a cutting board to cool slightly. Place the leeks and mushrooms on the grill pan and cook until char marks appear and the vegetables soften a bit. Remove from the pan and add to the cutting board.
  • Chop the vegetables on the cutting board into bite-sized pieces and mix together.
  • Place endive flat side down on the grill pan, letting it cook until it softens and grill marks are visible. Remove the core and cut into quarters.
  • As the endive is cooking, crack 4 eggs into 4 separate ramekins (any small bowl, shallow cup, dry measuring cup, or soup ladle will work if you don't have ramekins). 
  • Heat 3 inches of water in a wide pot, until it is simmering (just a few bubbles).
  • Delicately pour the eggs into the simmering water, keeping plenty of separation between them (if you don't have a wide enough pot, stick to two eggs at a time). 
  • Cook eggs for 3-4 minutes, until the egg white is set but still a little wiggly. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel. Repeat with the remaining four eggs.
  • Assemble the salad: Place four quarters of endive on a plate. Top with a heap of mixed grilled veggies. Top with a poached egg and drizzle with dressing (whisk the dressing first). Add optional grilled chicken, fish, shrimp, or raw avocado to the salad. Serve with a slice of lightly toasted country bread if you aren't on a diet!
Time to memorize: 4 days

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