Seeing all the Spring produce at the Franklin Farmer’s Market on Saturday inspired me to share a favorite Spring Salad I’ve enjoyed for years. While we were whipping up kale salads for the first chef’s Saturday last weekend, we had the chance to get out and see what was fresh from our local farms. We had a great visit with Adam from Colvin Family Farm in Spring City, TN who grow amazing produce naturally without synthetic chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides or GMO seeds. Their vegetables are beautiful! We chose a bunch of fresh collards, young Snow White turnips and ruby red lettuce for our recipe this week. We also picked up some amazing bacon from Triple L Ranch to bring in a nice smoky bite. And to finish it all off we topped this dish with a delicious soft cooked organic farm egg from Bloomsbury Farm. The recipe may seem challenging but it’s really simple using only a small pot and a cast iron skillet. Don’t be afraid, give it a try and be sure to get to the market early this week to get the good stuff! Oh and a special thank you for all of you that stopped by the South Fork Catering Co. tent to try our spring salad recipe last Saturday! We love our buying from our farmers, so be sure to shop local this weekend!
Spring Salad of Red Lettuces, Turnips and Collards with Bacon & Farm Egg
1/2 pound Triple L Ranch bacon, cut into 1/4 inch strips
1 head of Colvin Family Farm Red Leaf lettuce
3 Colvin Farms Snow White Turnips
1 small bunch of Colvin Family Farm collard greens
1 small shallot, sliced thinly
4 farm fresh eggs, I used Bloomsbury Farm
1 tbls olive oil
1 tbls red wine vinegar
Pinch of sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper
Soak the lettuce in cool water for 30 minutes, then trim the leaves and set aside. Slice the turnips into thin rounds and reserve. Trim the the stems off the collard greens and then stack the leaves and then slice cross wise into 1/8 inch ribbons, set aside.
Warm a cast iron skillet over medium heat for a few minutes then add the bacon. Cook the bacon until crispy, stirring often. Add the sliced shallots to the pan and cook with the bacon for 1 minute. When the bacon and the shallots are ready reserve in a small bowl along with the bacon fat. Return the skillet to the heat and add the sliced turnips. Only lightly wilt the turnips by stirring them for 1 minute, Remove the turnips to a plate and return the skillet o the heat. Add the olive oil and sliced collards to the skillet and cook over medium heat for few minutes until the collards have wilted. Season with a little salt and black pepper and then add the vinegar. Turn off the heat and keep in the pan until ready to serve.
While you are cooking the bacon, turnips and collards in the cast iron skillet, bring 2 quarts of water to simmer in a small sauce pan, then carefully add the whole eggs and cook for 6 minutes. ( You can cook them for 7-8 minutes for firmer yolks) When the eggs are cooked remove them with a slotted spoon to a bowl of cool water. leave in the water for a few minutes and then carefully peel the eggs and set aside. The eggs will be really soft so be careful to to break them!
Divide the trimmed lettuce leaves among 4 large plates. Evenly distribute the wilted sliced turnips among the 4 plates between the lettuce leaves. Then make little nests of collard greens in the middle of each plate. Carefully place the soft cooked eggs in the collard nests, then season each one with a tiny amount of salt. Using a spoon divided the crispy bacon and shallots between the salad plates and spoon the reserved bacon fat over the lettuce leaves. Grind some fresh black pepper over each salad and serve. Now’s time to simply enjoy a wonderful spring salad, all locally grown, from Tennessee farms. Bon appetite!
Chef Michael Martin is owner and chef of South Fork Catering in Franklin Tennessee.