Roasted Beet Salad with Bacon and Poached Egg

There is a lot going on in this salad – in addition to the beets, bacon, and the egg it also has spiced pecans and croutons.  It makes for a very satisfying salad with that breakfast for dinner vibe.  It does have a lot of steps but some things like the croutons, beets, and nuts can be made a day or so ahead of time or made in larger quantities for use later in the week.  I usually will roast and marinate all of the beets I have for the week, using part for the salad and some to snack on or use as a side over the next couple days, same thing goes for the spiced nuts.

If I don’t have a plan for what to do with the beets that I get each week usually I will just roast them like this and toss them with some vinaigrette and then eat them throughout the week with a little goat cheese or some greens.  So this is a good go to beet preparation.  After cleaning any dirt off your beets and removing the greens and tops, wrap each beet in tin foil individually, place them on a baking sheet, and roast them in the oven (350°) until they are tender.  This means that when you poke them with a fork they should show little resistance.

When they are ready to come out, remove them from the oven and let them cool until you can hold them enough to take the foil off.  Once the foil is off let them cool a little more until you are able to hold them easily.  Using a kitchen towel (you don’t mind staining) or some paper towels rub the beets in the towels and the skin will slide right off.  If you have little bits of skin that are reluctant to rub off then use a pairing knife to clean them up. Once the beets are cleaned of all their skin cut each beet into 8 little slices, or 6 depending on the size of the beet.  Or you can slice them thinly on a mandolin creating round disks, both look nice, some people prefer a thin sliced beet.

When your beets are all cut and finished toss them with half of the vinaigrette (directions below) and 1 tablespoon of chopped thyme, then set them aside until it’s time to build the salad.  The beets probably take almost an hour to cook, so start them first and while they are cooking you can do the croutons, the vinaigrette, and the bacon.

For the bacon just cut each slice into little pieces, about 1/4″ wide.  Cook these pieces in a frying pan over medium-high heat and let them keep cooking until they are crispy and browned.  Using a slotted spoon remove the bacon and place it on a paper towel to help absorb some of the oil.  Put cooked bacon aside until ready to assemble salad.

For the vinaigrette, combine everything (mustard, honey, salt, pepper, onion, vinegar) but the oil into a medium sized bowl.  For the onion use a microplane to get a very fine almost mushy bit of grated onion.  Using a little whisk beat all of these ingredients together until they are well mixed.  Now you need to slowly whisk the oil into this vinegar mix, making an emulsion.

If you stream the oil in slowly while whisking the mixture vigorously these two substances, that are in conflict with one another, will come together and form a homogenous vinaigrette.

As your vinaigrette sits, or if you have some left over and you use it over the next few days, it may start to separate.  If it does just whisk it again and it should come back together with no problem.  Use half of this vinaigrette to marinate the beets, and save the other half to toss with the salad, and for later use on other salads, or however you like.  Use it with in a week or so.

For the spiced nuts combing the egg white with the salt and maple syrup in a medium sized bowl.  Whisk this together until it is frothy then mix in the spices.  Once the egg white and spices are mixed together add the whole pecans.  Toss the nuts in the bowl until they are all evenly coated with the spice mix.  Place a silicone liner on a baking sheet and spread the nuts out on this liner so they are not overlapping.  Bake the nuts at 375° until they are fragrant and crisp when you taste them.  This will probably take about 10 – 15 minutes.  If you have any left over nuts keep them to snack on or add to a cheese platter for the next two weeks.

For the crouton I typically will use whatever bread I have handy, hot dog buns, french bread, Italian loaf it doesn’t matter much and if you can use something you have already do it.  Cut the bread into largish cubes about 1/2″ and toss them with extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Space the bread cubes out on a baking sheet with parchment, and put them in a 350° oven until they are golden brown and crunchy.  If you need to move them around a little while they are baking to brown them evenly then do that.  They will probably only take 10 minutes, maybe 15.  Keep an eye on them as bread can burn quick!

 

Once all of these steps are done bring 2 quarts of water to a simmer in a deep frying pan with steep edges, about 2″ deep, to poach the eggs.  Add a splash of vinegar to the water, I usually use a white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar, whatever is handy.  Break each egg into its own little finger bowl or ramekin.

When the water is simmering steadily, but gently, slide each egg, one at a time, into the simmering water and let them cook.

When the eggs are ready to come out, the whites will have become opaque and began to tightened up around the yolk.  Use a slotted spoon to remove the egg and test it to see if it is done.  If you can still see some of the translucent egg white coating the top of the egg it needs more time.  If the egg is opaque lightly touch the area where the yolk is and you should be able to tell that it is still very soft and liquid like.  This is how your egg should be, if the yolk its firm to the touch and you can tell it has cooked through, start again with a new egg.

Eggs can be chilled in in a ice bath, held on a clean towel, then reheated in simmering water if you want to make them ahead.  Otherwise assemble your salad quickly and top with your warm poached egg.

In a large bowl toss your greens with a couple tablespoons of the vinaigrette and a pinch of salt, then add the beets and bacon.  The greens should be lightly dressed, and will become slightly more dressed from the beet juices.  If individually plating (which I think looks best for this salad, because of the eggs) place a large handfull of the greens/beets/bacon onto each plate.  Then top each plate with some nuts and croutons.  Finish by placing a poached egg on the top of each salad, and then add a bit of cracked pepper and a little pinch of kosher salt, or a bit of fancy sea salt to the top of the egg.

 

Roasted Beet Salad with Bacon and Poached Egg

Serves 4
Prep time 1 hour, 15 minutes
Allergy Egg, Gluten
Meal type Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch Beets
  • 5 Strips Thick Cut Bacon
  • 1 Tablespoon Whole Grain Mustard (for vinaigrette )
  • 1 tablespoon Honey (for vinaigrette )
  • 1 teaspoon Very Finely Grated Onion (for vinaigrette )
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt (for vinaigrette )
  • 1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper (for vinaigrette )
  • 1/3 cup Red Wine Vinegar (for vinaigrette )
  • 1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (for vinaigrette )
  • 1 tablespoon Chopped Thyme
  • 3 cups 1 (for crouton)
  • 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil (for crouton )
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt (for crouton)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper (for crouton )
  • 2 Quart Water (for poached egg)
  • 1 tablespoon Vinegar (any wine or cider vinegar )
  • 4 large Eggs
  • 1 Cup Spiced Pecans (see recipe below)
  • 1lb Mixed Greens or other Lettuce (rough chopped )

Directions

Roasted Beets
Step 1
Preheat oven to 350°. Remove stems from all each beet, then wrap in foil individually. Place wrapped beets on a baking sheet and roast in oven until you can insert a fork with little resistance, about 45 minutes (depends on the size of the beets). Once done, remove from the oven, allow to cool, remove the foil and use a paper towel to rub the skin off. Cut each beet into 6 or 8 thin wedges, alternately slice each beet into thin disks using a mandolin. Toss beets with 1/2 Cup of the Red Wine Vinaigrette and 1 T. of chopped thyme, set aside until ready to use.
Crisp Bacon
Step 2
Cut bacon into 1/4" pieces and place in a pan over medium high heat. Cook bacon until crisp, then using a slotted spoon remove bacon from the pan and place on a paper towel to absorb some of the oil. Set aside until later use.
Vinaigrette
Step 3
In a medium sized bowl combine mustard, honey, grated onion, salt, pepper, and the red wine vinegar. Whisk until all ingredients are well mixed. While continuously whisking slowly stream extra virgin olive oil into the vinegar mixture. Continue adding until all of the oil is incorporated and the vinaigrette has a uniform look. If the vinaigrette starts to break, where you can see the difference between the oil and the vinegar, whisk it again until it comes back together.
Crouton
Step 4
Toss bread cubes with extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and into the 350° oven. Bake bread until it has become well toasted and golden brown, about 10 - 15 minutes.
Egg Poaching
Step 5
In a large frying pan, with steep sides, about 2" deep, bring 2 quarts of water to a consistent simmer and add vinegar. Crack each each egg into a small ramekin or finger bowl and set these bowls next to the simmering water. Carefully slide each egg into the simmering water one at a time. Allow eggs to cook until the white part is opaque but when touched you can tell the yolk is still liquid. When the eggs are done, remove each one with a slotted spoon and place carefully on a plate, set aside until ready to use.
Assemble Salad
Step 6
In a large bowl toss greens with aprox. 1 - 2 tablespoons of the Vinaigrette, then add the beets and bacon. Place desired amount of greens/beets/bacon onto each plate or onto one large serving platter. Spread croutons and spiced pecans over greens, then top each plate with one poached egg. Crack a little black pepper, and a pinch of Kosher salt, or finishing salt on top of each egg.

Spiced Pecans

Serves 2 Cups
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 15 minutes
Total time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon Ground Cardamon
  • 1 teaspoon Chipotle Powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon All Spice Powder
  • 2 teaspoons Cumin
  • 1 tablespoon Maple Syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 large Egg White
  • 2 cups Whole Pecans

Directions

Step 1
Preheat oven to 375°. In a medium sized bowl beat egg white, syrup, and salt until frothy, add all other spices and whisk until well combined. Add whole pecans and toss until well coated. Place nuts on a sheet pan lined with silicone slip cover and bake until fragrant and crunchy, about 10 - 15 minutes.

 

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