(for my Bella)
Day 14 of winter break and my husband is in Bella's room knee-deep in pressed board and IKEA instruction manuals and Dash is so mad that I won't let him eat the first batch of crispy bacon that he is hiding under my bed with the dog and it turns out that as of the first of the year eggs in any form make Bella want to barf so I find myself staring at this layered salad wondering why the fuck I even bother when Bella starts digging through the dressed romaine with her fingers and I sputter out Bella what huh what are you kidding me um are you an animal and my tone is so awful and she looks so sad that she ended up with me as her mother that we find ourselves in a hands-on-hips standoff until poof her face opens up into a big smile and before I can yank her in for a hug she grabs some bacon and run run run slides into my bedroom to lure Dash and the dog out from under the bed and then she's yelling out daddy do you want some of mommy's salad because it's really good and I'll bring you some and then miraculously we are all eating at the same time with Dash commando crawling toward the kitchen holding a fistful of bacon and my husband allen-wrenching and nibbling on my five-minute eggs and Bella hovering with me utensil-free over the salad bowl tearing dipping slurping and when Dash finally arrives at the table we start talking about the events of the day like the arrival of Dash's new big boy bed and Bella's genius addition of Best Foods Mayonnaise to the Caesar dressing and the 1,254-piece Lego Millennium Falcon we just finished assembling and then Dash clears his throat and splays his hands with just-so-you-know emphasis and comes out with really mama you're so good at building things and there's a great Lego college in Los Angeles and you should go there you really should and for the first time since my daughter was born 10 years ago I don't want my babies to grow up.
ROMAINE SALAD WITH BACON, 5-MINUTE EGGS, AND CREAMY GARLIC ANCHOVY DRESSING
You can do the 5-minute eggs a few days ahead of time and store them in the fridge. Bacon can also be done way ahead of time because it should be room temperature for the salad. The dressing also keeps for a few days in the fridge.
6 5-minute eggs (see below for recipe), peeled and halved
10 slices bacon
6 cloves garlic, peeled and whole (to be cooked in oil)
1 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and grated (kept raw)
5 anchovy fillets, packed in oil
1/2 teaspoon Colman's mustard powder
splash Worcestershire sauce
4 tablespoons champagne vinegar (or sherry wine vinegar)
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 tablespoon mayonnaise (Best Foods, Hellman's, or homemade)
a large head of romaine, cleaned (perhaps stripped of any wilted outer pieces)
lots of chopped parsley for garnish
Cook bacon on stovetop or under broiler until nice and crisp. Place cooked slices on paper towel to drain off excess fat until you're ready to assemble the salad.
Place garlic and olive oil in a pot on the back burner. Bring to the boil and immediately turn down to a simmer. Cook until garlic is tender (check with a paring knife; it takes about 15 minutes). Remove from heat and cool for about 15 minutes.
Scoop garlic out of oil and place in a mortar (or a regular bowl). Reserve oil for the dressing. With a pestle (or with the back of a spoon), mash the cooked garlic, grated raw garlic, anchovies, and mustard powder into a paste. Whisk in worcestershire sauce, vinegar, heavy cream, and mayonnaise. Whisking the whole time, slowly drizzle in 4 tablespoons of reserved garlic oil (it's okay for it to still be a little warm). Taste. Adjust. You will probably need to add more oil. But if you like it super tangy you can add more vinegar or worcestershire sauce.
You can leave the romaine leaves whole. Or tear them up. Or cut them into bite-sized pieces. They look more awesome when they're whole but it's a pain in the ass to dress them and eat them (you might need your fingers). Most of the time I cut them up.
Dress your greens with several spoonfuls of dressing. Add salt to taste. Toss with your hands. Taste. Add more dressing or salt if needed. Top with 5-minute eggs, bacon, and parsley. Sprinkle crunchy salt and a few drops of dressing on the yolks of the eggs. Eat right away. Serve with the remaining dressing in a pitcher.
Place eggs in a medium-sized pot that has a tight fitting lid. Cover eggs completely with cold water. Without the lid, bring water to the boil. Immediately turn off the heat. Cover with lid. Set timer right away for 5 minutes. Place a few handfuls of ice cubes in a bowl and cover with water. When timer goes off, carefully scoop out the eggs and place them into the ice bath. Leave them in the cold water for about 10 minutes. You can leave them out all day until ready to peel. Or store them in the fridge for a few days.