When my boys were small we often had soft boiled eggs for breakfast. I think the appeal for them was the toast soldiers. First, just the name toast soldiers made the breakfast sound special. But the act of dipping the toast soldier into the yolk was novel. Almost like a breakfast dip, this breakfast was a favorite.
However, now I would be calling the breakfast, jammy eggs with toast soldiers. The term came into vogue a few years back and while many people think of soft boiled eggs and jammy eggs as synonymous, they are not.
A jammy egg is cooked just a slight bit longer than a soft boiled egg. The interior of the jammy egg is, well, jammy. The yolk is not quite as runny and may have a thicker consistency.
The Savory Breakfast Salad recipe is inspired by three different recipes. Firstly, the traditional breakfast of bacon and eggs. The salad gives a nod to that tradition with jammy eggs and crispy prosciutto.
There is a lovely French restaurant in my neighborhood that has a Lyonnaise salad on its menu. The crisp greens with the poached eggs and lardons of a Lyonnaise salad are what I had in mind when creating the recipe.
German potato salad came to mind when I wanted to add the potatoes to the mix. The beauty of this addition to the recipe is that it also contains a vinaigrette to cohesively combine all three inspirations into one rich and full-flavored salad.
Important step #1
In my opinion, one of the most important steps in preparing a salad is to give the greens a good rinse. I know many salad packages highlight the fact that the greens are already washed. However, I usually give a good rinse with cold water to revive the lettuces once taken out of their bag or box. I give them a ride in the salad spinner to drain the water. While all the other components of the recipe are being prepared, the greens are put in the refrigerator to stay cold and crisp.
Start the jammy eggs first. Get a pot of water boiling and gently add the eggs. I like to use a timer - 7 minutes. While waiting for the water to boil and the eggs to cook, I crisp the prosciutto. This a fast step in the prep work. It takes about 2 minutes to crisp the prosciutto, a minute on each side. The added benefit of this preparation is that there is a nice fond on the bottom of the pan. The same skillet is used for all sauteing so that there is a stacking of fond on the bottom of the pan. This totally adds to the depth of flavor in the vinaigrette.
Potatoes are next after the prosciutto. They are lightly browned - think hash browns. To finish, add the shallots and saute for 5 minutes. This is when the vinaigrette is created. Adding whole grain mustard, sherry vinegar, and olive oil to the potatoes and shallots will deglaze the bottom of the pan.
Now it is time to combine all the ingredients. First, season the greens with salt and pepper. This may seem like a trivial step, but it makes a huge difference.
The greens are tossed with the shaved fennel, the crispy prosciutto, and the potato/shallot mix. Give everything a complete toss so that the whole grain mustard vinaigrette starts to coat some of the greens. You may not have complete coverage of the lettuce with the vinaigrette and that is okay. It is very rich and too much of a good thing is overwhelming.
Now add the jammy eggs. I like to slice them horizontally in my hand over the salad, in case some of the yolk spills out. It will fall onto the greens, thickly coating them to commingle with the vinaigrette.
Savory Breakfast Salad
With this recipe, you get the best of several recipes. There are so many textures - crispy, crunchy, soft, and of course, jammy. But the bottom line is the Savory Breakfast Salad delivers rich and robust flavor.
Savory Breakfast Salad
- nonstick skillet
- 4 cups salad greens Assorted greens such as arugula, radicchio, or spinach
- 6 eggs
- 3 ounces prosciutto slices
- 2 red-skinned potatoes about 11 oz. or 2 heaping cups diced
- 2 shallots sliced, 2ounces or 1 cup
- 1 cup fennel shaved or thinly sliced, 4 ounces
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
- 2-3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- I like to wash and spin all the greens in very cold water. After draining, I put the bowl in the refrigerator to chill while the rest of the ingredients are prepared.
- Start a pot of water over medium-high heat. Once the water is boiling, gently add 6 eggs and set a timer for 7 minutes.
- After 7 minutes, remove the eggs and add to a bowl of ice water. Once the eggs have lost some heat, about 5 minutes, remove from ice water.
- Tear the prosciutto slices into bite-sized pieces, keeping in mind that the pieces will shrink when cooked.
- Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a non-stick skillet, medium heat. Add the pieces of prosciutto to the hot oil. It only takes about 1 minute a side to crisp the prosciutto pieces. After the pieces have fried in the oil for a total of 2 minutes, remove to a paper towel to drain.
- Peel and cut red-skinned potatoes into ⅜-inch dice. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan you used for the prosciutto. Make sure to salt and pepper the potatoes after adding them to the oil. Have the heat at medium and cover the pan with a lid to soften the potatoes. Occasionally shake the pan to redistribute the potatoes. After 5 minutes, add the shallot slices and 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- After 5 minutes, the potatoes should be browned and the shallots should be soft. Turn off the heat. Add 2 tablespoons of whole grain mustard and 2-3 tablespoons of sherry vinegar to the pan. The amount of vinegar is up to you - 3 tablespoons may be too much for some people. The addition of mustard and vinegar to the vegetables will somewhat deglaze the bottom of the pan, which is good. You want all that flavor!
- Add 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan. Combine with the potatoes, shallots, and vinaigrette ingredients.
- Let the potatoes cool while you peel the soft-boiled eggs.
- Remove the greens from the refrigerator and season with salt and pepper. Toss with the fennel and the crispy prosciutto.
- Add the potatoes and shallots to the greens, tossing to combine. Lastly cut the soft-boiled into halves or quarters and add to the salad. You may want to cut the eggs open over the salad because the yolk will be runny. The yolk will coat the salad greens, becoming part of the vinaigrette.