I have been atrociously neglecting the blog. I have excuses, of course: I was in California for about two weeks in May (I worked on a McDonald’s commercial!), was busy shooting for work or for tests, was working on getting things together for the new site (I hope you’ve had time to look around!), and was generally living off pasta and grilled cheese sandwiches—nothing really appetizing or photogenic.
Oh! And one more: as of this month I will be contributing two recipes per week to Serious Eats’ new dessert section, Sweets! Every Monday you can look forward to “Let Them Eat: [Insert Name of] Cake” and every Friday expect a Latin American treat in “Dulces.” As always, I will aim to please your sweet tooth.
Anyway, this post isn’t only about lame excuses. Below is one recipe I managed to cobble together recently. It’s a warm salad, anchored by charred romaine—you’ll love it, it’s a whole new way to eat lettuce—and topped with a runny egg and crunchy breadcrumbs.
CHARRED ROMAINE SALAD with EGG & BREADCRUMBS
Notes: This salad is garnished with optional slow-roasted tomatoes; I’ve included the recipe below, but, should you not have any on hand, feel free to omit them or replace them with cherry tomatoes.
- Be sure to use panko and not regular store-bought breadcrumbs, which will be sandy rather than crunchy.
Cooking Equipment: large 12-inch nonstick skillet with lid, foil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons grainy mustard or Dijon mustard
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
1 large head romaine lettuce
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons water
1/3 cup roasted tomatoes or 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes (See Notes above)
- Place minced garlic and 2 tablespoons oil in small bowl (oil should fully cover garlic). Microwave until garlic is sizzling, 45 to 60 seconds. In second small bowl, whisk together vinegar and mustard. While still whisking, slowly drizzle in garlic and oil. Set aside.
- Heat additional 2 tablespoons oil in large (12-inch) nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add panko, Parmesan, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring, until crumbs are golden and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer crumbs to plate and wipe skillet with paper towels.
- Split the head of romaine in half lengthwise. Make sure you leave the base attached to keep the leaves together. Drizzle the cut side of the halves with additional 1 tablespoon oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Increase heat to medium-high and place romaine halves, cut-side down, on the skillet. Cook until charred and wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn over and cook an additional 2 minutes Transfer halves to 2 plates and tent loosely with foil. Add scallions and cook just until softened, about 2 minutes. Transfer to plate.
- Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to empty skillet. Add eggs, season with salt and pepper, and cook until whites begin to set. Add 2 tablespoons water, cover skillet, reduce heat to medium-low and cook until eggs are cooked to desired consistency, 2 to 4 minutes.
- To serve, top each romaine half with one egg, half of bread crumbs, and half of scallions. Quickly whisk vinaigrette to reincorporate and drizzle over food. Garnish with optional tomatoes.
Notes: I’ve made a version of these tomatoes before, but lately I’ve been using this recipe: the tomatoes taste like sophisticated ketchup. The amounts are a jumping off point—after you’ve made the recipe once, make notes and adjust the seasonings to taste. These tomatoes roast slowly until lightly charred and soft—they will melt in your mouth. Keep them in your refrigerator and add them to salads, sandwiches, and pastas for a flavor boost.
Cooking Equipment: Large rimmed baking sheet, foil
12 plum tomatoes, washed and cut into quarters lengthwise
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/3 cup olive oil
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 300°F. Line large rimmed baking sheet with foil. Spread tomatoes out on sheet and season generously with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire, and red pepper flakes. Drizzle with olive oil and, using your hands, rub the seasonings and oil on tomatoes.
- Cook tomatoes until wilted and slightly charred, 1 ½ to 2 hours. Cool to room temperature and serve.
- Store any leftover tomatoes in airtight container in refrigerator.