War, Peace, and a Very Quick Salad


Several times a week my amazing other half will call me at my office, check on me to see how my day is progressing, and then follow it up with "What would you like for dinner?" Before you think I’m the luckiest man on earth to get that phone call every day (because I am!), please keep in mind that the question should really be "Hi there; What Would You Like To Eat Tonight So That I Can Compare It To My List Of What We Have In The Kitchen Against What I Actually Feel Like Making For Dinner Depending On Several Factors Like Time, Mood, Willingness and Temperature."  We then begin a little phone dance of niceties like "Oh, you know, whatever you want is fine" and "But that really doesn’t help me out, Matt, which is why I called" which gives way to "Whatever we bought Sunday at the Farmers Market isn’t going to last until tomorrow so make something with that" which gets a "Fine. And where will I get a recipe for what you’re talking about" and I’ll respond with "Um, improvise?" which meets a "With TAHINI, A BUNCH OF SAGE AND SHRIVELED PLUMS?!?" to which I’ll say "Oh god, nevermind, really, I’ll eat whatever you want to make. Seriously. I don’t care." Then I hang up, upset with myself that his gracious, loving gesture has turned into a heated debate when all he wanted to do was make sure I’m fed, taken care of and let out into the yard two times to take care of business before bed.

Fifteen minutes or so will pass before we both pick up the phone — and depending on whoever reaches the other party first — and say:

"I’m just going to make/Why don’t you just make/I’m sorry/No, I’m sorry/let’s just have the salad."

Problem solved.

It’s known as the salad that we can always both agree on, the salad that satisfies and placates us both, and it’s something we never get tired of. It’s nothing more than a simple salad of greens, vinaigrette, and a few poached eggs. Perhaps a piece of toast salvaged from the stale loaf we never seem to finish. And it’s the peacemaker after a long day. Close enough to Salad Lyonnaise minus the bacon, I can’t seem to think of anything better when I’ve hit food fatigue but must still eat.

Ok, maybe some extra bacon, but the point of all this was to be easy and unpicky.


Why I love this recipe: because it’s not really a recipe as much as an assembly of very easy things. A poached egg, frisee or any baby lettuce, vinaigrette, croutons or toast and some chopped bacon. See? Easy and delicious. I’ll have extra vinaigrette, please.


P.S. A few folks emailed me about that picture below. It was actually dinner, yes, photographed with a Mamiya 645 film camera. I can’t remember what film I used other than 120, and I did scan it myself. It’s not the best scan but hey, it’ll work for me.


  1. says

    Matt…first time to ur blog.. i am amazed at the beautiful photos..and ur casual style of writing is fun to read.. will be back for more…

  2. says

    OMG so Steve and I aren’t the only ones that do this stupid dance of “what are we eating?” We do this all the time, but usually it’s with “where do you want to eat?!” OMG I am cracking up right now.

  3. says

    this is one of those things that ALWAYS hits the spot. The heartiness of the egg, freshness of the greens, and light, yet fulfilling result is one of those simple food miracles that never gets old. I love this salad and have it too often as well. Stir fried veggies with tofu is generally my default, but this is actually easier and more satisfying.

  4. says

    that’s very possibly the best lookin’ salad i’ve ever seen. i have this weakness for baby greens of any kind, and i think we both know how i feel about poached eggs… they’re my comfort food.


  5. says

    I adore this salad, but I gotta have lardons with it. Ever since we found marvelous thick-cut bacon at a small, nearby butchershop and always have it on hand in the freezer, I’ve been a happy diner.

  6. says

    Heh! My husband and I have a very similiar daily conversation although our fallback is pasta of one sort or another.

    Wonderful picture! I love how softly luminous it is.

  7. says

    Great looking salad. My wife can’t even boil water without burning the kitchen down so I’m lucky that she loves whatever I decide to make. Yay for non-picky eaters!

  8. says

    Haha, funny post…it’s so easy to get into a “fighting” mode just to figure out what to eat, it happens to me all the time.

    Simple and delicious looking salad…for me, throw in some shrimp and I will be in food heaven (that’s just because I am a shimpoholic). 😛

  9. says

    We do the same thing! I make a similar salad with a mustard vinagrette and then I serve these yummy(but *gasp* frozen), English cheddar souffles I found at Whole Foods. It’s our go-to meal when I don’t know what else to do! I’ll have to try the poached egg now.

  10. says

    We are trying to solve the, “What do YOU want for dinner tonite?” question by logging our evening meals. So far we have listed nearly all of them since mid-January.

    It really helps when something you think we had just last week was actually three months ago. Tonite? James Beard’s Quiche Lorraine with a romaine salad.

  11. says

    My partner and I have this same discussion every night. It’s usually followed with, “I hate deciding on dinner! This is why we should plan!” It’s good to know it happens the world round.

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