Anatomy of Salad, or How I Recover from the Weekend Revelry

Beet, Potato and Egg Salad

Weekends, at least in our household, are the days ordained for gastronomic revelry. Between the Saturday morning pancakes, sweets only on days that start with “S” (though I break that one almost daily) and dinners out with friends, we eat well. It’s a tradition that runs in the family: my mom has a set of dishes she uses only on the weekends, a toast to the few days of rest between harried workdays.

Last weekend was one such festive weekend, and it felt a bit like the holidays all over again. Friday night was Sam’s work party complete with cocktails, appetizers and multiple desserts. Saturday included a full-course afternoon tea with girlfriends. And then there was the pan of leftover brownies, with its siren’s call. Needless to say, when Sunday evening rolled around, Sam and I were craving something light and full of veggies. Thus commenced the creation of this salad.

Inspired by the French Salade Niçoise, I began with cold, cooked potatoes and boiled egg. The rest of the ingredients, though, fall into the category of “what’s left in the fridge.” This post is intended to be inspiration more than a hard and fast recipe. Use whatever vegetables you have on hand to create your own version. Here’s what I used in my “How I Recover From the Weekend” Salad:

  • Mixed greens (I used red and green oak lettuce leaves)
  • Homemade Balsamic & Mustard Vinaigrette (recipe below)
  • Cooked beets, cubed
  • Cooked potatoes, cubed
  • Medium or hard-boiled egg (instructions below)
  • Microgreens
  • Homemade bread crumbs (recipe below)
  • Parmesan cheese

Homemade Balsamic & Mustard Vinaigrette

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon mustard
Freshly ground salt and pepper

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard and salt and pepper to taste. The mustard acts as an emulsifier and binds together the oil and vinegar, which normally do not mix well. This recipe easily doubles or triples if you need to make more.

Homemade Croutons

Several Slices of Your Bread of Choice
Olive oil
Freshly ground salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 325°F. Using a serrated knife, slice the bread into cubes, however big or small you like your croutons. In a bowl, toss the bread cubes with a few drizzles of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread the bread cubes onto a cookie sheet or baking tray and bake until crisp and lightly browned, 15-20 minutes. Remove bread crumbs from oven, let cool and store in an airtight container.

Medium-Boiled Egg

1 egg

Fill a medium saucepan with water, add a pinch of salt and place pan over medium-high heat. When the water begins boiling rapidly, lower the egg into the boiling water with a spoon. Reduce heat slightly so the egg isn’t dancing all over the bottom of the pan but the water still simmers. Refer to this timing guide to determine how long to cook your egg:

  • 6 minutes: runny yolk guaranteed, white may be slightly undercooked
  • 7 minutes: some of yolk may have hardened, white will be fully cooked
  • And if a runny yolk makes you queasy, leave the egg in the boiling water a few extra minutes.

When the egg is finished cooking, remove it from the pan with a spoon, walk over to the sink and rinse the egg in plenty of cold water. Continue running cold water over the egg for at least 1 minute. This ensures that the egg stops cooking and also makes it easier to peep. Peel the egg.


5 Thoughts on “Anatomy of Salad, or How I Recover from the Weekend Revelry

  1. Crescent Rainwater on January 26, 2011 at 1:19 PM said:

    Beautiful post, Andrea. I love learning about your life through your eating habits. Sounds like a fun weekend. ;) And, the salad looks delicious and is certainly an inspiration for delicious, easy, healthy eating.

  2. Crescent Rainwater on January 26, 2011 at 1:25 PM said:

    hmmm…two uses of “delicious” in one sentence was sloppy. ;) maybe I could have said “tasty”, “delectable” or “yummy” instead…hehe.

    • andrealein on January 26, 2011 at 9:29 PM said:

      Oh man, I totally understand wanting to use “delicious” twice in one sentence! I think delicious is my go-to food adjective. There need to be more interesting words to describe food…all the standard ones can get boring pretty fast. But I suppose that’s where creative writing comes into play. ;) And I’m glad you enjoyed the post!

  3. Andrea! There is a vinaigrette similar to that from Martha Stewart that I love. It always comes out great. Your salad looks delicious.

    • andrealein on January 26, 2011 at 9:31 PM said:

      Ooo, Martha always has great recipes! Is there anything you add to Martha’s vinaigrette that you think I should try adding to mine next time? (Don’t you love the casualness of the internet–apparently I’m on a first-name basis with Martha Stewart!)

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