Got up early this past weekend to hit the farmers’ market before the storms rolled in (an earthquake last week; this week, Hurricane Irene).  Am now stocked up (duck eggs, various salad greens, peppers, onions, tomatoes, shallots, to name a few), well at least for a few days, and have a couple of bottles of wine on hand (just in case).  Also discovered a new little Asian market on my walk home, and picked up some mushrooms and chives (for the salad), kimchi (because I love kimchi), and some shishisto peppers — kimchi pancakes and pan-roasted shishisto peppers, perhaps?

 Always thinking about the next meal, can’t help it.

 Okay, back to the salad.  This is just a simple little salad of roasted mushrooms and shallots over a bed of mixed lettuces, radicchio, and dandelion greens, topped with homemade garlic herb croutons. My favorite way to enjoy mushrooms is to roast or saute them until they lose some of their water and become a bit crispy on the edges.  Adding a fried egg or two on top transforms this dish into a meal, perfect for brunch or a light dinner.



Roasting the mushrooms on a sheet pan in the oven requires minimal work, but yields loads of umami flavor.  Just a quick toss from time to time results in perfectly cooked mushrooms.  You can use any variety of mushrooms, just be sure not to crowd the pan, otherwise the mushrooms will steam instead of roast.

As you can see in the photo below, the mushrooms get nice and golden brown, and a bit crispy along the edges.

If you have some stale, day-old bread laying around and don’t know what to do with it, croutons are a perfect solution.  You can use any type of bread and any number of fresh or dried herbs (such as thyme, rosemary, oregano) for an extra punch.  Also, I like to generously rub the bread with a garlic clove before chopping into bite-sized croutons.


Roasted Mushrooms

1 1/2 pounds assorted mushrooms (such as shiitake, crimini, oyster, enoki), halved
4 shallot, peeled, thinly sliced
Extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 425F.

Coat the mushrooms with olive oil, fresh thyme, salt and pepper.  Divide the mushrooms onto two baking sheets and roast ~25 minutes until mushrooms are crispy.   Rotate half way through cooking.

Homemade Garlic Herb Croutons

2 thick slices of day-old, rustic crusty bread
1 or 2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped (or rosemary, oregano)
Extra virgin olive oil, to lightly coat croutons
Sea salt

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Rub the bread on both sides with the garlic clove.  Cube the bread.  Toss the croutons with olive oil, fresh thyme, and season with salt.  Place on a baking sheet and bake 7-8 minutes until golden brown, but slightly chewy on the inside.  Set aside.

Balsamic Dressing

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Juice of half a lemon
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

Whisk all dressing ingredients together.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Assembling the Salad

Mixed salad greens (such as baby lettuces, dandelion greens, beet greens, frisee)
Chives, chopped, about ~1/4 cup
1 to 3 egg(s) (chicken, duck, quail)
Balsamic reduction (optional)
Coarse sea salt

Toss the greens and chives with the balsamic dressing.  Place the dressed salad greens on a plate and top with the roasted mushrooms, shallots, and croutons.

Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Add a couple teaspoons of oil and swirl to coat the pan. Crack the egg(s) into the skillet and cook until the whites are set.  Place the egg(s) on top of the salad.

Drizzle with balsamic reduction (optional).  Sprinkle with coarse sea salt and garnish with a few chopped chives.

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This looks absolutely wonderful!


This looks absolutely wonderful!

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