Spring is such a lovely season because of the progression of produce at the farmer’s market. After months of heavy, stodgy, starchy meals such as hearty soups and stews, the things we eat change to lighter fare such as this salad which celebrates the height of the season in all its glory.
I’m honored to live in New York City where I have access to some of the best farmers’ markets in the New York metropolitan area. But what do you do if you live elsewhere? Substitutions are perfectly fine as long as the ingredients you’re working with are fresh and at the peak of quality. For instance, there’s such a marked difference between an egg fresh from the farm, and one sold at the supermarket.
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All ingredients in this salad with the exception of the olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon juice in the vinaigrette came from Union Square Greenmarket in New York City.
3 strips bacon, cut into 1/4″ pieces
2 large oyster mushrooms, sliced
2 shallots, peeled and sliced
1/4 lb. heirloom fingerling potatoes, sliced lengthwise
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon lemon thyme, minced
1 tablespoon parsley, minced
1 tablespoon onion chives, minced
juice of half a lemon
extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 head Boston lettuce, washed and spun dry, then torn into pieces
1 tablespoon pea shoot flowers, chopped
2 fresh wild turkey eggs
Bring a small pot of water to a roiling boil. Drop the wild turkey eggs and cook until eggs are done, anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes depending on whether you want them soft-cooked or hard-cooked. Wild turkey eggs take longer to cook than chicken eggs because the shell is thicker and the eggs are larger.
Fry bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until golden brown. Remove from heat and drain off all bacon drippings except for 2 tablespoons. Warm 1 tablespoon drippings in the same pan, add shallots and mushrooms, turn heat down to medium, then sauté until vegetables are tender, about 2-3 minutes. Make sure that shallots do not burn. Combine shallots, mushrooms and bacon in a small bowl. Stir and set aside.
Warm remaining tablespoon bacon drippings over medium heat, then add potatoes to the skillet. Fry until potatoes are golden brown, taking care not to let them burn. As all stoves are different, it should take no more than 10 minutes. These are fingerling potatoes so the cooking time won’t be as high as if they were regular-size. Taste for salt and pepper, then stir in some thyme. Add to bacon mixture, and let cool slightly, about 5 minutes.
In a large salad bowl, add lettuce, then bacon-potato mixture. Stir so that all ingredients are well-mixed. Vinaigrette should consist of 1:1 extra-virgin olive oil to lemon juice; taste for salt and pepper, and stir in herbs.
Peel eggs and cut into quarters. Chop pea shoot flowers.
To assemble: Spoon lettuce and bacon mixture onto salad plates. Top with turkey eggs. Spoon 1 tablespoon vinaigrette over each serving. Top with pea shoot flowers and any remaining herbs, then serve at once.
Time: 45 minutes, including prep.