Winter comfort food. It’s one of those special phrases which translates well in so many cultures. The cold comes, and we look forward to “Cold” food. In the fall, that’s roast turkeys, gourds, roots, tubers, and fruits – classic “hearty” seasonal foods. In fact, Mark Sisson thought seasonal foods were an important enough facet of seasonal eating to take a look at Why Fall Foods Prime The Body For Fat Burning, which turned out to be an interesting logical consideration of seasonal eating. Well, we all have our ideas of what Winter comfort foods are too, right? I certainly do: Chicken Soup, Beef Stew… Well, I’ll be adding a new one to that list which my wife and I have been enjoying for the past few days: The Hot And Cold Salad.
There is nothing more comforting than waking up, on a cold winter’s morning, to a steaming cup of coffee (or whatever your breakfast drink of choice is), and a hot breakfast, like Eggs and Bacon. But, what if you’re craving your now normal breakfast salad? What if you just don’t want to give up the sweet taste of leafy greens and avocado? And let’s be honest: leafy greens, while still good, are simply not the same when cooked. So, obviously, we’re not going to cook up our salad, right?
Well, not necessarily. If you choose your ingredients carefully, the ideas of a hot breakfast and a salad can definitely be combined. And here is how I did it.
The Hot And Cold Salad:
The Cold Part: First I started with the normal salad ingredients. I used a spring salad mix, as I have discussed previously, I prefer the spring salad mixes because of the inclusion of the red lettuce leaves. And whether the extra color adds nutrition or not (studies indicate that it does) I think it looks better. On top of that I added sliced cucumber and avocado. Both are subtle flavors, so choosing the “hot” ingredients carefully will be important, since we want a good flavor synergy. I did not mix the salad yet, since I still need to add the hot ingredients.
The Hot Part: For the hot ingredients I chose vegetables which can be heated up without losing their flavor or texture. Great examples of that would be: onions, celery, mushrooms, leeks, zucchini, peppers, etc. Now, from that list, I am careful to select vegetables which compliment the eventual flavor of the dish, remembering that we will be adding a meat ingredient as well, and often the meat ingredient is the most dominant flavor. Most of the time, these are the meats I have to choose from: Ham or Turkey cold-cuts (sometimes smoked), Bacon, Steak, Ground Beef. And finally, depending on the way you want the flavor to come out, you can add eggs to the mix.
For today’s salad I chose zucchini and leeks, and fried them up until they were just starting to caramelize. In a separate pan, I also cooked up some bacon, nice and chewy the way I like it. Then I mixed all the ingredients and served!
As an additional thought: I have done a similar thing for take-to-work lunch as well. Instead of mixing the hot and cold portions of the salad, I put them in separate containers. Then when lunch time comes around, it’s easy enough to heat up the hot portion and combine them for the same hot and cold salad experience!
Let me know about your breakfast comfort food ideas in the comments section! And keep tuned later today for another installment of “What’s For Dinner?”