You can toss this salad ahead of time. Or you can place all of the components out on the table and let people make their own salads. The base of this salad dressing is pesto. All pestos are different, so it’s very important to taste the dressing as you make it in order to season it correctly. The crispy and crunchy romaine leaves are crucial, so if you can, only use the inner leaves (the heart) and save the outer greens for another salad. —Phyllis Grant
pesto (any kind)
white wine or Champagne vinegar
Lemon juice to taste
Salt to taste
Assembly and 5-Minute Eggs
5-minute eggs, peeled and halved and sprinkled with salt
slices bacon, cooked to your liking (they can be room temperature)
25 to 30
hearts of romaine leaves (only the crispiest from the interior of the head), stems removed
Whisk together pesto, olive oil, and vinegar. Taste. It should have a bit of a kick to hold up to all of the ingredients in the salad, so adjust accordingly. I find that I almost always need to add some lemon juice and salt. If it’s too thin, add more pesto. If it’s too thick, add more oil. Taste and season again.
Assembly and 5-Minute Eggs
For the 5-Minute Eggs: Place eggs in a medium-sized pot that has a tight fitting lid. Cover eggs completely with cold water. Without the lid, bring water to the boil. Immediately turn off the heat. Cover with lid. Set timer right away for 5 minutes. Place a few handfuls of ice cubes in a bowl and fill halfway with water. When timer goes off, carefully scoop out the eggs and place them into the ice bath. Leave them in the cold water for about 10 minutes. You can leave them out all day until ready to peel. Or store them in the fridge for a few days. Tip: They’re much easier to peel underwater.
To assemble, go wild. You can carefully layer the greens, bacon, and eggs and then drizzle with the dressing, parsley, and salt. Or you can toss your greens with the dressing and then add the eggs and bacon. You can splash with dressing and then chop everything up. You can skip the eggs. Or the bacon. Make it your own. Assemble the salad that you want.
Phyllis Grant is an IACP finalist for Personal Essays/Memoir Writing and a three-time Saveur Food Blog Awards finalist for her blog, Dash and Bella. Her essays and recipes have been published in a dozen anthologies and cookbooks including Best Food Writing 2015 and 2016. Her work has been featured both in print and online for various outlets, including Oprah, The New York Times, Food52, Saveur, The Huffington Post, Time Magazine, The San Francisco Chronicle, Tasting Table and Salon. Her memoir with recipes, Everything Is Out of Control, is coming out April 2020 from Farrar Straus & Giroux. She lives in Berkeley, California with her husband and two children.