Grilled bacon and poached egg - in a salad

Six-ingredient supper: poached egg salad with bacon and pear chutney

 

I particularly like this dish as I grow mixed leaves for 10 months of the year, and have a few backyard chickens and ducks for daily fresh eggs.

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November is Food Month in The Irish Times, with food-related articles in all our sections, plus reader events, competitions and exclusive content at irishtimes.com/foodmonth

For those of you counting the calories, go easy on the cheese. A small egg has around 54 calories and an extra large egg has 85, and is an incredibly versatile food that can be eaten in a variety of different ways at every meal time. Final calories will depend on how the egg is prepared and served, therefore boiling or poaching would be the healthiest options. Eggs are great for eyesight and an egg contains six grams of high-quality protein and all nine essential amino acids.

Try to buy free-range eggs as not only do they taste better, the hens have an easier time of it. Follow my cooking method for the perfect poached egg and you’ll be surprised by the results.

What you’ll need and how to make it

Serves 6

6 free-range eggs

600gr mixed salad

18 slice of streaky bacon

18 medium cherry tomatoes on the vine

120g shaved Parmesan or aged cheddar

200g pear chutney or onion marmalade

Wash and dry the lettuce, (keep it refrigerated so the lettuce stays crisp).

Place the streaky bacon on a baking tray and grill until crisp, then set aside on kitchen towel to soak up excess fat.

Quarter the cherry tomatoes, and using a peeler, shave the cheese into ribbons.

For the eggs, use a saucepan or a deep frying pan, which allows you to fill it with about three inches of water. The eggs should be covered with water during cooking and the three-inch depth of water ensures that the eggs will not stick to the pan.

Poached eggs must be cooked in water that is very gently bubbling or simmering. Carefully crack and add six eggs to the pan. If the water is boiling too fiercely, the eggs will be forced to move around too much, causing them to break up and lose their shape. A gentle simmer allows the egg to sit in one place throughout cooking.

By using the freshest free-range eggs possible, eggs that are less than four days old, you are more likely to achieve a perfectly poached egg that keeps its shape. With a fresh egg, the white will stay close to the yolk and should not spread out thinly.

Vinegar can be added to the water as it begins to boil. This will help the egg white to coagulate more quickly and form a neat and compact shape. Use about one tablespoon of vinegar for each pint of water. Bear in mind that the vinegar may slightly flavour the eggs, so do not use too much.

Using a large bowl, toss the salad in enough vinaigrette to coat the lettuce, and arrange neatly in six bowls. Place a poached egg on each salad and arrange cheese shavings around, along with a few dollops of pear chutney, or whatever relish you prefer. Top it off with a few slices of crisp bacon.

Tom Flavin, executive chef, Limerick Strand hotel

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