My sister and I are pretty close. Always have been. While other sisters fought over toys, clothes and boys, my sis and I were busy playing dress up and taking pictures (yes, even in high school…). Which is why I am thankful that we still live so close (seeing that we are from western Ohio, and we now both live in the same Brooklyn Neighborhood, that’s pretty rare). We still play dress up sometimes, but other times we like to eat and cook – and drink – together.
You might not know it to look at her, but my sis is quite the cook. At our 4th of July b-b-q, she brought the house down with her salad. Mixed greens, dried cherries, diced apples, candied pecans and a citrus dressing. So I asked her to do a guest post, and luckily she agreed. We were going to have dinner, and she’d make the salad. But, dinner didn’t happen. Instead, a brunch was planned. Lots of brunchy ideas were thrown around (I’d love to tell you what they were, but they are top secret, maybe a future guest post…) and finally she landed on a Breakfast salad. A delicious experiment with peaches, goat cheese, those famous candied pecans, and french toast croutons, all drizzled with a maple-based dressing.
There are a few things that make my sis the best salad-maker around. She is meticulous with the details. And she does her research. When prepping the lettuce, she pulls out all of the big veins, leaving just the soft lettuce leaves.
And the batter for her french toast uses only egg yolks for richness. Her tips for separating yolk from white are: 1. always use a separate bowl, and 2. If the egg white is thick, you can use the shell to cut through it.
French Toast Croutons:
4 cups of cubed bread (I used focaccia, you can use any crusty bread you’d like)
4 egg yolks
3 tablespoons half & half
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1-2 T. butter
1 cup pecans
1 T. butter
2-3 T. brown sugar
Maple lemon dressing:
3 T. maple syrup (the real stuff)
3 T. fresh lemon juice
2 T. olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
big batch of leafy greens
2 peaches, sliced
2 oz. goat cheese
First make the croutons. Combine egg yolks, half and half, zest,cinnamon, vanilla and salt in a bowl and stir until smooth. Add bread, toss to coat thoroughly, then let sit about 10-15 min. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter until bubbly and just brown. Add croutons and let brown on 1 side for about 5 min, then flip and do the same for another 5 min. Cook and flip until they are all golden brown and tasty.
Meanwhile, candy the pecans. In a skillet over medium heat, melt butter and sugar together. Add pecans and toss to coat. Cook for about 5-10 min, stirring often. Keep your eye on them, as they can burn before you know it. When they’re done, transfer to a plate to cool. If you’d like, crush them a little after they are done to make them more bite size. This recipe makes more than you’ll use for the salad, but you can save the leftovers in the fridge to add to salad and other things throughout the week.
Combine all dressing ingredients in a jar and shake.
To assemble salad, toss greens, peaches, cheese, and pecans together in a large bowl. Drizzle in about half the dressing. Top with the croutons, then with a bit more dressing.