Salad for breakfast? It’s not as strange as it might sound. And while I’m a big fan of the occasional sweet breakfast (I love me some blueberry pancakes and crisp bacon from St. Francis Fountain in San Francisco!), I really love savory breakfasts. Besides, my husband—a Brit—doesn’t understand the “American obsession with dessert for breakfast” so we eat a LOT of eggs in our house.
Because of this, I’m always looking for creative ways to serve eggs for breakfast, beyond the usual fried over medium, soft-boiled, hard-boiled, poached, or softly scrambled. I’m inspired by innovative brunch offerings at some of my favorite cafes.
More and more popular brunch spots are offering up savory, salad-y, egg-topped dishes for us early risers. On a recent trip to L.A. I discovered an amazing breakfast spot (adored by many LA brunchers): an adorable café called Sqirl. At Sqirl, they serve up a crave-worthy, vinegar-laced crispy brown rice “salad” with runny egg, avocado, plenty of herbs, and salty sausage. There’s also a terrific breakfast-y salad at my beloved local breakfast bakery, Della Fattoria.
This version is perfect for springtime (or Mother’s Day), with plenty of tender greens, earthy asparagus, and salty bacon. All topped with a soft-boiled runny egg.
When making boiled eggs, if you have an egg poker it works wonders for getting the peel cleanly off. Soft boiling eggs is a bit trickier, and every second matters, so pay close attention to the timing.
Recipe: Breakfast Salad
Makes 4 servings
- 4 slices thick-cut smoked bacon
- 1 lb asparagus, trimmed
- Olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 large eggs (depending on how many you want)
- 4 cups fresh baby salad greens
For the vinaigrette
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp white wine or champagne vinegar
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp Dijon mustard
- To make the vinaigrette, in a small jam jar with a screw-top lid, add the ingredients for the vinaigrette. Cover and shake well until creamy.
- Bring a saucepan half full of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the asparagus and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender. Drain in a strainer set in the sink. Run under cold water to stop the cooking and drain again.
- Meanwhile, in a frying pan over medium heat, cook the bacon until crisp. Drain on paper towels.
- Bring the saucepan, two-thirds filled with water, to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium so that the water is simmering. Gently lower the eggs into the water using the slotted spoon. Cook for a few seconds more than 7 minutes (this should give you a very slightly runny yolk; if you like it less runny, cook it for another minute or two). Remove the eggs with the slotted spoon and run under cold water. Gently crack the egg shells, then peel. Set aside.
- Tear the bacon into bite-sized pieces and add to a mixing bowl. Add the salad greens and asparagus and drizzle with some of the vinaigrette. Toss to coat, then divide between individual plates. Place an egg on each salad and cut in half lengthwise. Season with a little salt and pepper and serve, with more vinaigrette alongside.