Foodiva's Kitchen: French Fridays with Dorie - Beef Bacon, Eggs and Asparagus Salad

Friday, May 20, 2011

French Fridays with Dorie - Beef Bacon, Eggs and Asparagus Salad

“We are beginning to wonder whether a servant girl hasn't the best of it after all. She knows how the salad tastes without the dressing, and she knows how life's lived before it gets to the parlor door.”

Djuna Barnes

Two bacon-containing dishes two weeks in a row....sigh. What's a (non-bacon-eating) girl to do? Improvise, that's what. Although you'll be relieved to know that for this week's FFWD, I actually went with the meat part and used beef bacon. It's as fat-laden as actual bacon and was just perfect. End of fret session.



Next, the half-boiled eggs. I wasn't keen on having a runny yolk in my salad, so I set the timer to do my eggs 3/4-boiled. I know exactly how I like my eggs done, know what I mean? The yolk was still shiny and bright yellow (as opposed to being dull and matt) but it didn't ooze all over the place when I cut into it. What can I say, I just like a clean plate.

In Dorie's book, the vinaigrette contained nearly as many ingredients as the salad part itself, so I decided to simplify it. I took the flavors of mustard, vinegar and walnut oil out of the vinaigrette and placed them elsewhere on the dish. I remember eating a lively salad somewhere once, and I also remember it was on a beach with a view of shimmering waters the color of pale blue sapphires. Digression aside, the salad was served upright in a rather amazing crusty, edible vase made of baked Parmesan. Every since that day, I'd wanted to recreate that crisp vessel. Here, finally was my chance.

 Beef bacon, asparagus, Parmesan and mustard strip

Here's how I did it: I searched for a cylindrical object such as a bottle, wiped it clean and measured a strip of  rectangular parchment paper long enough to wrap around the cylinder, the short ends overlapping by about an inch. I sprinkled 1/2 cup of shredded Parmesan on the paper but since I didn't have enough, added 1/4 cup grated Parmesan on top of that (stick with shredded if you can). Mustard seeds took the place of Dijon mustard in the vinaigrette and these I sprinkled all over the Parmesan. I baked the strip at 180C for about 5 minutes until it turned a golden brown color, then wrapped it around the cylindrical mold (I used a thermos), tying around with a string to keep it in place. I left it to cool in a horizontal position and once set, I carefully removed the string and parchment paper.

 Parmesan and mustard basket, baked and wrapped around a heat-proof thermos

The vessel ended up being quite high (about 4.5 inches) so instead of a vase, I decided to turn it into a basket. Yes, cooks improvise all the time, so why not? To serve the salad, I just stuffed everything into the Parmesan basket - the asparagus, beef bacon cut into long strips, red cabbage ribbons and salad greens. A squeeze of lime replaced the vinegar, and a sprinkle of chopped, toasted walnuts eliminated the need for walnut oil. A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil over the salad, meanwhile, completed the dish.


So what do you think of this salad basket filled to the brim with the season's bounty? Était très, très bon, non?

Look out for other variations of this salad by FFWD members, our online cooking group. This week's recipe is on page 130 of Around My French Table.  Get it, cook out of it, and eat better because of it!

46 comments:

Trix said...

Sigh. I am SO sad I didn't have time to do this week's recipe. But honestly in looking at what you did, I am kind of glad because I am just going to skip straight to your version. It is beautiful. Though I would probably do a runny egg and bacon... I'm gross like that! ; )

Foodiva said...

TRIX! So sad that you're missing this week's recipe too, however it is not FFWM...LOL. That crispy Parmesan basket was yummy, though, and yes, I'm pretty sure I have a few gross preferences that you may not care for too ;-). That's what makes us all human, hey!

Cher said...

The baskets were really clever. I am so, so glad that I am not the only person out there who doesn't like the runny egg on a salad thing. I tried it, but it was just not my thing. Next time, I am SO boiling them to chalky perfection :-)

Free Spirit Eater said...

What a gorgeous site you have! I found you through your interview with Spicie Foodie. Your photography is flawless, everything looks so unique, beautiful and delicious. I'm so glad I found your site. I am now following =]

yummychunklet said...

I've never heard of beef bacon. What a great substitution! And, I love the look of your Parmesan basket. Makes for a great presentation.

Sonia (Nasi Lemak Lover) said...

Nice presentation, and I bet it taste super !

Lizzy said...

You always have an incredible presentation, Maya! Gorgeous salad :)

Adriana said...

Maya, your salad looks AMAZING! I love how you reinterpreted the salad. It looks like the prettiest, tastiest bouquet. BTW, loquacious means 'talkative, chattering, babbling'. My post felt unusually short for what I usually do, so I hope to get back on the swing of things for next week.

Kathy said...

Your presentation is beautiful…as always! Loved the parmesan basket. Nice post!

Karla said...

WOW, that Parmesan basket is LOVELY! Good thinking! I, myself, love a runny egg but totally am converted from a hard-egg past. Love your interpretations of the recipe - looks delicious! I could eat your photos! :)

Elaine said...

I enjoy visiting everyone's blogs so much - I learn so many creative techniques. I love the parmesan vessel! Such a pretty salad and presentation!

Ei said...

My salad is developing an inferiority complex, now that it's seen your salad. That is GORGEOUS. Can I come over next time you're making this? lol Yours looks so crisp and clean. I think I went wrong by frying my egg in the bacon grease (I don't like soft-boiled, and was afraid I'd break a poached egg). Mine was waaaay heavier than everyone else's seems to be.

Roxan said...

Maya! This turned out so beautiful! Great job :)
I'm not much of a bacon eater either, so I would also have a hard time with this dish... I've never heard of beef bacon! Turkey bacon, yes, but not beef bacon. Sounds delicious.

Pacheco Patty said...

Beautiful and creative salad Maya, I love the Parmesan basket too;-) I'm also thinking that I would like an egg cooked like yours as well, although I did like the gooey yolk with the bacon in the original version. For me this salad is a full meal and that's my favorite thing about it.
Have a nice weekend;-)

Candy Girl said...

Love the parmesan basket! So creative and pretty.

Kris' Kitchen said...

Your dish is over the top wonderful! I want to do what you did...I bookmarked your page!

Foodiva said...

Cher, we may be the norm, not the exception as far as hard boiled eggs are concerned! Who knows? Thanks for giving me the giggles with both your comment AND your post! ;-)

Foodiva said...

Kymberlee@Free Spirit Eater, thanks for coming over from that interview. I'm so glad reading it piqued your interest enough to pay my blog a visit. I went to your site too and am amazed that you, a real-life chef and food-writer, are following me. ME! Thank you again, I'll try to live up to your expectations ;-).

Foodiva said...

Yummy Chunklet and Roxan, funnily enough beef bacon does exist and is sold readily where I live (probably because we don't tend to eat much pork bacon here). Maybe it's called something else where you are, beef rashers, perhaps?

Georgia | The Comfort of Cooking said...

What a wonderfully delicious looking dish! It looks like it was probably very complex, but you did a great job. Thanks for sharing. :) You have a lovely blog and I'm so glad to have found it!

Heather said...

Oh how I dream of my food looking as beautiful as yours...sigh. Great job! So creative and tasty too! Yes btw my salad was for the whole family! Thanks for the comment:)

Foodiva said...

Ei, you are so hard on your salad! If it makes you feel any better, my portion was so BIG I struggled to finish this all by myself, delicious as it was. The Parmesan basket should've been half the size I made it too. See, not many of us will be fully satisfied with our own versions of this salad....the salad's always greener on the others' plates!

Foodiva said...

Georgia, boiling the egg to perfection was probably more complex than making the cheese basket. It's not that hard at all I promise! I'm glad you found me, btw :-).

Foodiva said...

To my wonderful fellow Doristas, thanks for stopping by and leaving your supportive (and honest, which I like) comments. I'll try to go around to see everyone's salads, it's something I look forward to every weekend!

The Weight Watcher said...

Your photographs blow my mind every time! The asparagus in the first picture- i could almost feel the fresh crunch inside my mouth- thats how real and wonderful it looked!

And parmesan baskets in a salad- love the way you think!

Suman Singh said...

Wow, that platter looks so refreshing and full of flavors..love to have this anytime..thanks for sharing! have a nice weekend!

Maria said...

Oh, I am so trying the parmesan basket. This looks so stunning. I really liked this salad a lot. One of my favorite FFwD dishes so far.

Maria
Cocina Diary

DessertByCandy said...

What a unique presentation. Love it when visual is just as effective as taste. Crunchy cheese all over the salad...wow!

Yvette said...

Love your presentation & pics! I've done the baked parmesean crisps but never as a basket, a wonderful & beautiful idea!Enjoyed your site. Can't wait to cook the next dish!

KarenP said...

Your eggs looks cooked just how I would like it. Gorgeous presentation!

mygreatmenu said...

Your salad looks beautiful and delicious. So creative with the parmesan crisp. Love it!

Gloria said...

Your parmesan cheese basket is genius! I love the golden brown color and it looks perfect with the asparagus spears and bacon spilling out. Now I want to make a cheese vessel!

Betsy said...

Maya, your edible vase looks great! You are such a creative cook. I love your interpretation this week (well, actually every week).

Kate@Diethood said...

Gorgeous, creative...very Maya-ish! :)

Michael Toa said...

Maya, you have the best creative flare. This salad looks stunning.

onewetfoot said...

That is a brilliant variation! Your creativity makes me want to try harder with my own French Fridays posts.

Priscilla - She's Cookin' said...

Beautiful rendition of this week's FFWD! Love how it looks like a basket with a bouquet of flowers - so creative :)

blackbookkitchendiaries said...

its just gorgeous Maya!! it looks very elegant and absolutely impressive:)

tricia s. said...

Oh my - this is crazy, stunning, amazing, gorgeous. Your photos are UNBELIEVABLE. I have to go back to do this recipe myself - I am not a runny egg gal but will be making it for my runny egg loving hubby and sons. And oh man- are they going to love me when I attempt that basket deal !! I may even make one for Nana :)

Denise said...

What a creative and stunning presentation! And I love the quote at the beginning.

Foodiva said...

Thank you all for the kind comments about the Parmesan basket, it's really easy and delicious and turns the salad into something more special. The only problem with this plating style was that I didn't really know where the heck to place the not-so-runny egg! So I simply put it on the side :-),

luciacara said...

You are amazing - your rendition of the salad is fantastically creative (and looks delicious) and your photos are stellar! We did manage to make this salad this week and it was great (no variations but still a lot of preparation).

Nami @ Just One Cookbook said...

Oh my goodness Maya... this is beyond superb. You are so creative and I'd love to have this kind of salad. Well we probably won't eat it at regular dinner/lunch....it looks so special! I'm amazed with your cooking talent.

Spicie Foodie said...

Maya, you are just a genius! I love your presentation, I would be giddy if your plate was served to me at a gourmet restaurant. I'm not too fond of pork but bacon is something I do love. Beef bacon sounds interesting and definitely trying out. Have you tried turkey bacon? The eggs are boiled to perfection! I'm hungry now.

Marie said...

Very inventive--and it looks great!

Magic of Spice said...

What a stunning way to present this salad...really beautiful take :)

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