A couple weekends ago, I sent The Husband out to mow the yard and weed eat with the promise that when he was finished I would have brunch waiting for him.
I don’t readily associate salad with breakfast, but when I saw this recipe with its happy little fried egg and strips of bacon poking out, I knew I had to make it soon. Since I tend to like a little something sweet first thing in the morning I decided to throw in a sprinkling of maple glazed walnuts over the top.
Just an FYI when you put your croutons in, set a timer. I got distracted when Little Tot started showering our pup Otis with Mardi Gras beads. Otis was a good sport and let me snap this pic. Then I suddenly remembered my croutons, but by then it was too late. Luckily, I still had enough bread to toast another batch.
This dish is very elegant and comes together quickly, so if you were having guests over this would be a feasible option. Between the egg and the spinach leaves, it was very filling. Even The Husband admitted after working up an appetite from mowing the yard he was satisfied after he cleaned his plate. I think it’s the bacon. It kinda gives this a manly touch.
- ½ cup walnut pieces
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups torn bread (about ¾-inch pieces) from a day-old rustic whole wheat loaf
- ¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- Kosher salt
- 1 small clove garlic, pressed or finely minced
- 1-1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar; more as needed
- 1-1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 6 slices bacon
- 8 ounces baby spinach (about 8 cups), washed well and dried
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 large eggs
- Heat a dry skillet over medium high heat. Add the walnuts, maple syrup, and salt. Heat, stirring constantly, until maple syrup mixture is caramelized and walnuts are thoroughly coated, about three minutes. Set skillet aside and allow walnuts to cool.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Spread bread on a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt to taste. Bake for approximately 8-10 minutes or until the bread is crisp and golden, similar to croutons.
- While the bread is baking, whisk together the garlic, vinegar, mustard, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Let the mixture sit for five minutes. In a slow, steady stream, gently whisk in ¼ cup of the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and fry until crisp, approximately 7 minutes. Remove bacon and reserve bacon grease.
- Crack eggs into the pan, working in batches if needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook eggs to your preference, either sunny side up or over easy, about 2 minutes total.
- To assemble the salad, place spinach and croutons in a large bowl. Add just enough vinaigrette to lightly coat the spinach leaves. Divide the leaves among four serving plates.
- Place a fried egg on top of each plate of greens.
- Break bacon pieces up into smaller pieces and sprinkle over the egg.
- Serve with additional vinaigrette if desired.