Many lunches for me are simply a salad of greens with an assortment of chopped, sliced or diced vegetables dressed with a light vinaigrette. Often I will top the salad with a hard cooked egg for protein. Today I was craving bread. This craving was fueled by the crusty baguette I picked up at the farmers market yesterday from Artisan Oven. The ingredients available for lunch today were my usual salad fixings and the eggs I had left from last week. But then there was the bread-I wanted a sandwich. Of course I could make an egg salad sandwich. Yuck! That mooshed up mayonnaisey concoction glopped onto a couple of slices of bread just does not work for me. It always reminds me of meatless Friday school lunches and the horrible smell of sulfur that permeated the whole school. To this day, I still can’t face an egg salad sandwich. What if I just piled my salad on the bread and called it a sandwich? Now that might work.
The foundation (in my opinion) to a great sandwich is the bread. That baguette was certainly promising offering a crackly crust with a delicate interior. The main ingredient can be vegetable, dairy or protein. Just be sure it is flavorful. The toppings need to complement the main ingredient. For my sandwich I cooked my eggs until the yolks were just set. Overcooking an egg can yield the texture of a superball and a sulfur taste. For my vegetables, I wanted stronger flavors which the barely cooked yolk would mellow out. My arugula is still plentiful along with the slightly hot radish and the licorice flavors fennel bulb that I love on my salads. Those early tomatoes I got at the market would add a slight acidity. I dressed everything with a garlic vinaigrette and lightly coated the bread with mayonnaise. This made for an egg salad sandwich to wipe away those frightful Friday lunch memories! Continue reading
It’s almost time to head back north to Michigan for the summer, but for now I am enjoying a spring preview in Austin. Many of the spring treats appear two months earlier in the land of sunshine. Sunday’s stop at the Mueller Market in Austin was full of springs treats including beautiful strawberries, fennel and some wonderfully delicate arugula. For me the sure sign that spring is in action is the abundance of sweet red strawberries. None of the giant frankenberries that you find at the grocery store. These are delicate juicy strawberries that you can hardly wait to get home and rinse off before you eat.
As I am being very careful with my diet as I attempt to lose weight, I have been eating mounds of salads. I love the spicy bite of arugula, but if the leaves grow too large, it can be rough and almost pungent. The arugula I found Sunday was perfect. One of my favorite things to eat with arugula is thinly sliced fennel. Top it with a little balsamic vinaigrette and you have a simple salad. But then I also like strawberries with my arugula. Why not have them both on the same salad? Earlier I had infused some olive oil with orange zest. Hmm, how would that taste in a vinaigrette? Well, pretty awesome as it turns out. Put them all together and you have a refreshing salad. We ate this salad with grilled chicken breast and some fresh bread from the farmers market for a light Sunday lunch.
- 3 Cups Arugula
- 1/2 Fennel Bulb
- 1/2 Pint Cleaned Strawberries
- 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
- Zest of one Orange
- 1/4 Cup Aged Balsamic Vinegar
- 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
Rinse and dry the arugula and then put it in a large salad bowl. Slice the fennel bulb very thin. Use a mandoline if you have one. Slice the strawberries. Put the fennel and strawberries on top of the arugula. To make the dressing mix together olive oil and zest. Then add the balsamic vinegar and salt. Mix these together. Dress your salad to taste.