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cabbage salad with egg yolk opener

No Ordinary Salad: Cabbage Meets Bacon & a Deep-Fried Egg

Until recently, my favorite winter salads was the classic French bistro salad of frisée, bacon in a warm mustard dressing with a poached egg. Then, I met its rival at a restaurant in Boulder: a cabbage salad with a breaded and deep-fried egg.

So, before I launch head first into the multitudes of spring greens, I’ve recreated this cabbage salad as a send off to winter. It’s no ordinary slaw…

Cabbage for Salads

I’m an all-around cabbage fan. When served raw, cabbage tends to get pigeon holed as coleslaw. But this inexpensive and accessible brassica can be so much more than a picnic side dish.

cabbage salad with egg overhead

First off, there are a dozen cabbage varieties, from the familiar green and red head cabbages to Asian choys. Each one has a different texture–and even from the inner to the outer leaves–and water content that is especially pronounced when raw.

All cabbages can be sliced or chopped for salads that are as distinctive as the varieties themselves. Who ever thought cabbage had so much personality?

When cooking some cabbages, like bok choy, I separate the white and greens parts because the whites cook more slowly than the green. But with salads, I toss the both parts together and enjoy their contrasting textures.

Hearty Cabbage Salad

The other thing is that a cabbage salad, when combined with hearty garnishes and a flavor-forward dressing, becomes main dish fare.

closeup of deep-fried eggs

So when the lettuce stocks are low in winter, cabbage is an ideal stand in for cold-weather salads.

The cabbage salad that stole my heart was all of these things: napa cabbage chiffonade piled up like a miniature hay bale hiding bits of bacon and chopped dates in a honey mustard dressing.

And a Deep-fried egg

{There’s so much I want to say about pastured eggs, but first I’m going to tell you about this egg.}

cabbage salad with split egg overhead

Crowning it all was the most perfect egg: soft-boiled, breaded in panko and then deep-fried. When I cut into it, the yolk spilled onto the cabbage. I chased it down, forking up all of the crunch, salt, sour and richness.

That remarkable egg does beg the question of whether it was the cabbage at all. But often, it’s the supporting players that make all the difference.

All I know is that lettuce could never do this.

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cabbage salad with egg yolk opener
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Savoy Cabbage & Bacon Salad with a Golden Brown Egg

The inspiration for this remarkable cabbage salad came from the Boulder, Colorado restaurant Oak on Fourteenth. I've used curly savoy cabbage, but this is great with napa or green cabbage as well. Also, the eggs can be soft boiled and breaded 1 day in advance to ease the final preparation.

Course Salad
Cuisine French
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Total Time 32 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 531 kcal
Author Lynne

Ingredients

For the eggs:

  • 4 large whole eggs in their shell pasture raised
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 cup panko or breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus more for topping
  • vegetable oil

For the salad:

  • 7 strips bacon, diced
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup or honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, plus more for serving
  • 1 small head cabbage, such as savoy or napa, cored and very thinlyl sliced about 8 cups
  • 1/2 cup pitted, chopped dates

Instructions

To boil & bread the eggs:

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and gently lower in the 4 whole eggs. Boil for 6 minutes, then shock in an ice water bath for 5 minutes. Peel the eggs, using a spoon to release any stubborn shells.

  2. To bread the eggs, put the flour, beaten egg and bread crumbs in 3 separate bowls. Season the breadcrumbs with the salt and blend well. (If preparing the eggs in advance, put a rack on a sheet pan to hold the breaded eggs.) 

  3. Roll each egg in the flour and lift with a fork to shake off the excess. Next, roll it in the beaten egg and lift with the fork to let the excess drip off. Finally, put the egg into the dish with the breadcrumbs and your hands to firmly but gently to coat them well. Repeat with the remaining eggs.

To prepare the salad:

  1. Heat a skillet over medium heat and line a plate with paper towels. Add the bacon and when the fat melts, turn the heat to medium low. Cook the bacon, stirring occasionally, until the fat has rendered and the bacon is beginning to brown. Drain the bacon on the paper towels and set aside.

  2. Drain all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat from the skillet and add the olive oil. Add the shallots and cook just until the shallots soften but do not brown. Turn off the heat, but leave the skillet on the burner. Add the vinegar, mustard, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Whisk until smooth and blended and keep warm while you fry the eggs.

To deep fry the eggs:

  1. Fill a small saucepan with oil at least 2 inches deep and have a deep-fry thermometer on hand. Line a plate with paper towels. Heat the oil to 350 degrees. Use a wire strainer or slotted spoon to dip each egg into the hot oil one at a time. Cook for 1-2 minutes, rolling the egg in the oil until it is evenly golden brown. Lift the egg from the oil with the strainer to the paper towels and sprinkle with salt.

To finish the salad:

  1. Put the cabbage in a mixing bowl. Toss well using all of the dressing, then toss with the reserved bacon and the dates. Taste and season with more black pepper, if desired. Portion the salad into tall piles on serving plates and top with a deep-fried egg.

Recipe Notes

Granted, a soft-boiled, then breaded and finally deep-fried egg is a little time-consuming for ordinary days. A poached or fried egg is a perfectly wonderful and far simpler substitute for this salad. Either way, don't miss out on the runny yolk.

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Shut the front door! This is fabulous. What great flavor and texture. I might go with a soft boiled egg or even a sunny side up egg to save time. However, the deep fried egg is dressed to impress.

    I have one remaining green cabbage head left in my winter garden. I think I know exactly what I plan to do with it. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Velva-Tomatoes on the Vine

    1. Ha! I love that expression and the fact that you have 1 cabbage left that you grew yourself. Go for any egg with a runny yolk, I say. Hope you enjoy it, Velva! And thanks for making my day.

  2. Cindy

    I discovered that I love a fried egg over raw cabbage salad for breakfast months ago with a few drops of ketchup and a slight drizzle of maple syrup, salt and pepper. Yum!

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