You guys. How has no one ever told me to put a poached egg on a salad before? I feel cheated.
To be fair, I should have figured this one out long ago. I put runny eggs on just about everything else in my life, so why not a salad? Particularly this salad, which combines tangy greens, pan-fried oyster mushrooms, and a warm rice vinegar dressing. Add the golden richness of the egg yolk, and suddenly something alchemical happens: the whole thing becomes crunchy, chewy, sweet, tangy, gooey, rich, wolf-it-down-and-mop-the-plate delicious. This is the kind of salad that impresses people. It makes an entrance. I love it so.
The idea for this salad came from salade lyonnaise, the righteous French assemblage of frisee lettuce, bacon, and egg. I learned about this recently, and it stuck in my mind. The original salad involves a couple elements I’m not crazy about: bacon, obviously, and though I like frisee’s wacky texture, I don’t usually enjoy how bitter it is. So I made a couple of swaps–mizuna and basil for frisee, and oyster mushrooms, crisped in a pan, for bacon. It worked like a charm.
Mizuna is one of those greens that I’d heard about, but never actually sought out. Then, at the farmer’s market on a warm September Sunday, I saw a basket of lanky bunches and decided to pounce. It’s a Japanese green, supposedly related to mustard greens, but much more delicate and less aggressive. The flavor is a bit like arugula, but not quite so peppery. What really drew me to it, though, was the texture: crisp and feathery, with juicy bits of stem here and there. The greens wilted obligingly under the warm dressing, and tickled up here and there through the richness of the egg yolk. I’m sure you could make this salad with other greens, but the mizuna really worked gorgeously. I highly recommend it.
Oh, and take it from me: you’ll want to have some bread around to mop up the leftover dressing once the greens are gone. The combination of vinegar, shallot, and egg yolk–sharp, sweet, and fatty–is really plate-licking good.
Mizuna and Mushroom Salad with Poached Egg (makes 2 entree-sized salads)
Adapted loosely from The Minimalist
Note: If you can’t get mizuna, use a 2-to-1 mix of arugula and spinach. The texture of the salad won’t be quite the same, but the flavor will still be quite nice.
6 oz mizuna, washed and thoroughly dried (see note)
1 packed cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
6 oz oyster mushrooms, finely chopped
1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
2 tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar, or to taste
2 tsp Dijon mustard, or to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 large eggs
Crusty bread for serving
Chop the mizuna into bite-sized pieces, and chiffonade or chop the basil. (You should end up with about 5 cups of greens, total.) Toss to combine, and set aside.
In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until golden and crisp all over. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
While the mushrooms cook, bring a large saucepan of water to a bare simmer.
Reduce the heat under the skillet to medium and add the remaining 3 tbsp oil. Add shallot and saute for 1 minute, or until translucent. Add vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper, and heat just until the vinegar bubbles. Turn the heat to low and keep the dressing warm.
While the vinaigrette cooks, add a large pinch of salt to the simmering water, then gently crack in the eggs. Poach for 3-4 minutes, or until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny.
Divide the greens between two serving plates. Distribute the mushrooms evenly between the two plates, then pour over the vinaigrette from the pan. Remove the eggs from the water with a slotted spoon, carefully draining off as much water as possible, and transfer 1 egg to each plate. Season the tops of the eggs with pepper. Serve immediately, with hunks of crusty bread for mopping up the dressing.