I was thinking about green beans today. I like using them to accent other salads or pastas, but I wanted to properly showcase them on their own. The one thing that kept coming to mind was green bean casserole. Doing that as a salad would be rather messy or need another vehicle to compliment it like potato. I’ve been eating a lot of potato as of late as well and wanted to do something different.
I thought of creamy dressings with sour cream or yogurt. Good, but again, I’ve been doing it a lot. My mind then went to the idea of a poached egg. Admittedly, I’ve never been great at doing them. I spent my share of time working the kitchen of an all night diner that does breakfast 24 hours a day, so I’ve done my share of poached eggs. I did a few practice ones (my lady and I are good for poached eggs for a bit after tonight haha) and finally got the touch back. I don’t swirl the water. I don’t agitate the water at all. Just the barest simmer to the water (medium-medium low heat) and gently slide the egg from a bowl along the side of the pot into the water. Using a slotted spoon, I immediately gather up the spreading egg white and ease it over the yolk, simmer for no more than 4 minutes and scoop it out. It’ll have a perfectly set membrane around the yolk that’ll give upon gentle pressure and ooze liquid gold. As for vinegar in the simmering water, it’s a good idea, but with a very fresh egg, there will always be a bit of spreading of the egg white either way. Just assume some loss of egg white from the poached egg. It’s fine.
I thought of the poached egg as a dressing akin to the creaminess of green bean casserole. As for the crispy onion element that usually tops the classic casserole, I oven-toasted some onion lightly tossed with flour and ground them between my fingers to use as a seasoning. This gave the eggs the slightest essence of sweet-savoury onion over a bed of blanched beans. A beautiful harmony of flavours and textures.
Green Bean and Poached Egg Salad with Toasted Onion Seasoning:
For the Toasted Onion Seasoning:
1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced
3 Tbsp flour (I used spelt flour which will give the finishing product a darker hue. Plain/all purpose flour will work fine)
Preheat oven to 220C/450F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, toss the onions with flour and shake off the excess. Spread the dredged onions on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer and bake for 10 minutes. Toss the toasted onions and return to the oven for a further 10-12 minutes or until deeply golden and dry. Remove from the oven and set in a small bowl to cool.
For the salad:
1 cup green beans, ends trimmed, blanched for 5-7 minutes and chilled in ice water
1 cup yellow beans, ends trimmed, blanched for 5-7 minutes and chilled in ice water
2 large eggs, poached as described above (at the last minute)
Reserved Toasted Onion Seasoning
On two plates, spread the blanched and cooled beans along the centre. Ease a poached egg on top of the green bean nest and pinch the toasted onions between your fingers and it will easily powder. Sprinkle it over the entire plate, with emphasis on the egg. Serves 2.