PAN-CRISPED DEVILED EGGS ON SPRING GREENS
15 minutes prep; 5 minutes stove time
Serves 4 as a main dish; 6 as a first course
Eggs and Stuffing:
1 garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons vinegar, or to taste
2-1/2 teaspoons minced onion
8 large eggs, hard-cooked and peeled
1 scant teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tight-packed tablespoon Italian parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons minced smoked ham
1 tablespoon minced dried apricot
1 to 1-1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 to 3 tablespoons good tasting extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup ham "croutons," (ham cut into 1/4-inch dice)
The leftover egg stuffing
3 tablespoons good tasting extra-virgin olive oil1 generous teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon each minced ham and minced dried apricot
2-1/2 tablespoons milk
2-1/2 teaspoons white wine vinegar, or to taste
Salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
4 generous handfuls of a mix of Bibb, mâche (also called lamb's lettuce), dandelion greens or frisée, washed and dried
In a medium bowl blend the garlic, vinegar, and onion. Let stand while you cut the hard-cooked eggs in half lengthwise. Gently remove the yolks (fingers work best), and place them in the bowl. Reserve the whites.
Add to the yolks the mustard, parsley, ham, apricots, and 1 tablespoon mayonnaise. With a fork, crush everything together into a thick paste. If the filling's very crumbly, add a little more mayonnaise. Blend in salt and pepper to taste.
Pack the mixture back into the hollows of the egg whites so the filling is even with the surface of the egg, not mounded. You will have leftover stuffing (this becomes the salad dressing).
In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Gently place the eggs in the pan stuffed side down. Scatter the ham croutons around them. Cook over medium heat 3 to 5 minutes until the eggs are beautifully browned (sprinkle them with salt and pepper as they cook). Continue cooking the ham, if necessary, until it's golden, then scoop it out of the pan and set aside.
As the eggs sauté, in a large bowl blend together the dressing ingredients — the remaining egg stuffing, Dijon mustard, milk, vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Add the salad greens to the bowl and toss. Heap them on a serving platter.
Gently lift the eggs from the pan, turn them filling side up, set them on the greens, scatter the ham croutons and dressing over the salad, and serve.
Choose organic eggs, if possible. It's one of those foods where you can tell a difference.
Leftover roasted spears of asparagus could go into the salad.
To roast asparagus, have pencil-thin spears. Preheat the broiler. Wash the asparagus, dry thoroughly and put them on a large shallow baking pan (a half-sheet pan is ideal). Drizzle the spears with a few spoons of good tasting extra-virgin olive oil, salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Spread the spears out evenly on the pan so they aren't touching. Broil 1 to 2 minutes on each side, or until browned, but not burned. Eat them hot or at room temperature.
THOUGHTS FROM LYNNE
Pair two of spring's treats in this compote. Keep it in the fridge for breakfast or for dessert. You could top the rhubarb and berries with thick Greek yogurt or salty caramel ice cream. It's from a new book by Fine Cooking magazine, where recipes are tested to a fare-thee-well.