One good thing (of many) about working from home once classes are over:
- as I’m grading papers, I can putter back and forth to the kitchen, planning my lunch.
One good thing about living in an area where going out to buy a box of sushi isn’t an easy cop-out, as the nearest decent sushi is 10 blocks away:
- it’s likely I’ll make a salad.
One good thing about snow and cold:
- I’m more inclined to invent a salad from things that are already in my house. Maybe it’s the perfect day for kale and feta, but I don’t have any, and I don’t feel like putting on six layers of clothing and knee-high boots to go spend money on some. I therefore have to use my imagination.
Today’s salad happened in a few stages. I have spinach. I was saving it for dinner, but I can appropriate a couple of handfuls. I also have toasted pecans. So already, I can’t really go wrong.
When it comes to protein, my first inclination is to reach for a can of chick peas, but chick peas have become a bit of a crutch for me. I tend to forget about eggs. A poached egg is the perfect accompaniment to a salad. Soft-boiled is easier (if you are fine with the fact that, 7 times out of 10, it’s hard-boiled) but poached makes a salad rich and runny.
So I rinsed the spinach and placed the egg on the counter to warm up, but then what? Something was missing. I had no roasted red peppers or sundried tomatoes or sprouts or green beans. What goes well with spinach in a winter salad?
Ideally, if you’re going to make a citrus salad, the fruit should be good. I had to work with what I had, and the orange and clementine were dry and pale and full of flabby seeds. The grapefruit was perfect. I supremed them carefully and left them to sit in a vinagrette for a couple of hours. (I felt they needed some spice, so I took the dressing from the Honey and Harissa Farro Salad in my new favourite cookbook. I used white wine vinegar instead of lemon juice, as I felt things were already quite citrussy enough.)
I was very careful with the egg and it came out perfectly. The dressing thinned a lot with the juice from the citrus, so I drained the fruit and then added more dressing directly to the spinach.
The outcome: overall, delicious, but needs tweaking.
The combination of the warm, runny egg and the cold citrus was interesting but not entirely convincing. The dressing also needs balancing, maybe with a bit of garlic and some additional oil to counteract all the juices going on. However, the whole thing made a light and satisfying lunch.
What would make it better? Apples! No citrus next time.
Most importantly, I spent my morning making a thing, which I was then able to eat. Any day when I do that feels like a day well spent.