Sunday, September 14, 2008

Like Making Lemons Out of Lemonade...

Usually I am a very confident cook. I don't claim to be an expert in the kitchen, but I'm comfortable there, and if something doesn't taste quite right, I'll add a little bit of this and a little bit of that, and generally it turns out well.

So I'm writing to admit a kitchen mishap: apparently, I can't poach eggs. Well, I bet I could if I practiced enough times, but my first try was a big fat disaster. Maybe the water wasn't hot enough, or maybe I just got overly confident, but my water was full of stringy whites that barely set up. I couldn't even salvage the yolks. Sigh.

My original intent was to serve the poached egg over a spring-greens salad with seared scallops and when the poaching didn't happen, I just made a vinaigrette with another egg yolk to maintain the creamy richness a poached egg would have added to the salad. It was very yummy, even though it wasn't my original plan...

Seared Scallop Salad
serves 2
12 medium scallops
Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
4 to 6 thin slices pancetta
4 thick slices ciabatta bread
1 clove garlic
1 lemon, juiced (need about 2 tablespoons)
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 egg yolk
1 bag spring greens

Rinse scallops, and and pat dry. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat 2 to 3 teaspoons olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add scallops and sear until golden and opaque, about 2 minutes per side, depending on size. Be careful not to overcook.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet, cook the pancetta until crisp, then drain on a paper-towel-lined plate. Break into smaller pieces, and set aside. Toast the bread, in a toaster oven, toaster, or 450-degree oven, until golden brown. While bread is still hot, rub each piece with the garlic clove, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with a touch of salt. Cut into bite-size pieces, and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine lemon juice, Dijon, and egg yolk. Add a pinch of salt. Using a whisk, whisk in olive oil (about 1/4 cup) until the dressing comes together. Taste, and adjust seasoning. In a large, shallow bowl, toss the lettuce with some dressing (add a little bit to start, toss, and keep adding dressing until the greens are dressed to your liking). Add the pancetta and croutons, and toss again. Top with scallops, and serve.


Colleen said...

This looks delicious! And I don't know how to poach an egg either!

Lauren U. said...


The salad looks amazing. I feel like the hungriest girl in the world every time I read your blog.

I saw Martha Stewart poach some eggs once, and she added a splash of white vinegar to the water-- helps 'em set up. She'd also broken the eggs into ramekins which she then lowered into the water one by one before tilting them sideways to let the eggs slide out. Hope this helps.

Happy poaching!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, miss Lauren :) Great tips for the next time I try my hand at poaching eggs...