Yes, I know, I cannot seem to let go of summer. I’m not even a big fan of summer! I hate summer clothes, I don’t do well in the sun (I’m possibly one of the most pale people in existence), and I hate how my oven makes my kitchen feel like the depths of hell when I turn it on in June, July, or August. It’s still even a little to hot outside for me right now! One of the most influential reasons for my move across the country from Phoenix, Arizona to New York City was due to the excruciatingly long, hot summers back home. I do, however, love summer produce. The fruits and vegetables are so bright and so vibrant that I imagine I’m not the only one who finds them completely irresistible. There are farmers markets as far as the eye can see in New York during the summer months, too, which is great for my taste buds, but not so much for my wallet. I simply cannot pass by a summer fruit or vegetable stand without picking something up. The heirloom tomatoes that were being sold at the Rockefeller Center Farmer’s Market this summer across from where I work were my favorite item. There were so many different kinds in all of the colors of the rainbow, and more!
An heirloom tomato, by definition, is an open-pollinated tomato. What that means is that the plants are pollinated naturally through wind, animals, or other forms of pollination that are not controlled by man. Due to the lack of control, these heirloom (or open-pollinated) tomatoes vary in genetic traits, such as size, color, taste, and texture. The drawback to this type of pollination is that while closed pollination allows for stronger, generally healthier plants, as less desirable traits are done away with, the heirlooms are more susceptible to diseases because they are not being bred to certain specifications. This is why many heirloom tomatoes often have large cracks or dark spots on them. However, these characteristics do not make the tomatoes any less delicious! They are much more interesting than your average hot house tomato, with surprising flavors and textures, not to mention the beautiful colors! The tomato I used in this salad was mostly green with hints of pink on the outside, yet it was still ripe. When I cut into it, it was the most gorgeous pink and green combination; it almost looked like it was tie-dyed. I believe it was a lighter version of a Black Krim tomato, but I’m not quite sure. If you know what kind of heirloom I had in this salad, please let me know!
All together, this salad was outstanding! It had peaches (I’m a little obsessed with peaches this summer), avocado, my lovely heirloom tomato, red onion, bacon (you can do without it, but why would you?), spinach, arugula, and a bright orange vinaigrette for the dressing. I wanted to make the salad a bit more dinner appropriate (and Kramer appropriate), of course, so I asked Kramer to poach a couple of eggs to put on top. I figured that the egg would add a little something to the dressing, and went along perfectly with the bacon and avocado, adding a depth of flavor and some creaminess to the whole dish. I’ve always said that egg yolk is nature’s perfect sauce! I would eat this salad for any meal; breakfast, lunch, or dinner. In grasping at the last good bits of produce from the summer, I think I created a little bit of the season right on my plate. Eat up!
Cook your cut bacon until crisp, then remove with a slotted spoon and allow to cool and dry on a plate lined with paper towels. Reserve 2 tablespoons of bacon fat for the dressing, or use olive oil to keep it vegetarian.
Cut your tomato into wedges.
Thinly slice your peach.
Thinly slice your red onion.
Cube your avocado, wash and dry your greens, then toss everything together in a big bowl.
Whisk together your dressing ingredients and pour a little less than half over the salad. Add more if you like, but remember that you will be placing a poached egg with all of its delicious runny-yolk goodness over the top of the salad later on.
Now it’s time to poach your eggs! Bring 3 inches of water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
Crack your eggs, one at a time (or in separate bowls), into a small bowl.
Gently submerge the the lip of the dish into the simmering water, letting the water into the dish. Gently slip the egg out into the water.
Do the same with your next egg(s). Let the eggs sit for 3 minutes.
Pull the eggs out with a slotted spoon.
VERY GENTLY place the eggs on a plate lined with paper towels.
Carefully pat the egg dry.
Poke open the poached egg with your fork and enjoy!
- 3 cups spinach, rinsed and cleaned
- 1 cup arugula, rinsed and cleaned
- 8 slices thick-cut bacon, sliced into bite-sized pieces
- 1 large heirloom tomato, cut into wedges
- 1 yellow, red, or orange pepper pepper, sliced thinly (AKA julienned)
- 1 large peach, sliced thinly
- 1 ripe avocado, cubed
- ¼ red onion, sliced thinly
- ¼ cup shaved Parmesan cheese
- 2 or 4 eggs, poached (instructions to follow - 2 eggs if you're eating this as a meal, 4 if you're serving it as an appetizer or a side)
- 2 tablespoons distilled vinegar
- freshly ground black pepper
- juice of ½ an orange
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or bacon grease
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- pinch freshly ground black pepper
- In a medium sized skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil over medium-high heat and fry your sliced pieces of bacon until crispy. With a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels and allow to cool. Reserve 2 tablespoons of bacon grease for the salad dressing (allow to cool before mixing with the other dressing ingredients. Alternately, you can use olive oil).
- Wash and pat dry the spinach and arugula. Place in a large bowl. Add in the wedges of heirloom tomato, the sliced peaches, the cubed avocado, the julienned bell pepper, and the sliced red onion. Add in the cooked, room temperature bacon. Whisk together the dressing ingredients. Pour about half over the salad, toss, then add more if you feel it's necessary. Don't add too much though, as you will be placing a poached egg on top of everything! Divide the salad among 2 plates if serving as a meal or among 4 plates if serving as an appetizer or as a side.
- To poach the eggs, bring 3 inches of water, vinegar, and salt to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce to a simmer over medium-low heat. Make sure that the temperature remains within 160-180 degrees F. Mix in 2 tablespoons of vinegar and a pinch of salt (about ⅛ teaspoon salt).
- Crack your eggs into a small dish, one at a time, and submerge the the lip of the dish into the simmering water, letting the water into the dish (see photos above). Gently slip the egg out into the water. Let the egg sit for 3 minutes. Pull the eggs out with a slotted spoon and VERY GENTLY dry them off on a paper towel. Gingerly place the egg on top of your salad and top with a bit of cracked black pepper. Serves 2 as a meal and 4 as an appetizer/side.