Arugula Salad with Balsamic Mushrooms, Bacon Strips, Onions, and Egg

I have been trying to eat more green lately … lettuces and greens, vegetables, and the occasional bit of meat. In the month of January, I had two different salads that I thoroughly enjoyed. One was an arugula salad with shallots, avocado, tomato, Parmesan cheese shavings and a light bacon vinaigrette. The other was a spinach salad with spicy shrimp, bacon strips, bleu cheese, tomatoes, and shallots dressed simply in olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper.

These two salads inspired me to strive for greener meals, but I chose to bump up the protein with the addition of an egg. I combined peppery arugula, softened onions, balsamic mushrooms, and bacon strips to make a filling plate. I like the taste of the egg yolk on the arugula as the egg gets broken open by the fork… simply wonderful.

Arugula Salad with Balsamic Mushrooms, Bacon Strips, Onions, and Egg
Serves 2.  For a single portion, use only 1 egg and reserve 1/2 of the arugula, onions, mushrooms, and bacon for the next meal.  For vegetarian substitutions, see below.

2 cups fresh arugula
1 8-oz. package of button mushrooms, sliced (cremini mushrooms work equally well)
about 1/3 cup water
about 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
pinch of salt
pinch of Italian seasoning blend
2 slices bacon, cut into strips
1 small onion, diced
2 large eggs
freshly ground black pepper
Optional: extra balsamic vinegar to dress the salad

Method:
Put the bacon strips in a small frying pan over medium heat and cook until the bacon is done.  I prefer my bacon extra crispy!  Dry the bacon strips on paper towel, and reserve a tablespoon of the bacon drippings in the pan.  Discard the rest of the grease.

Fill a pot with the water, vinegar, garlic, Italian seasoning blend and salt.  Add the sliced mushrooms and stir to coat the mushrooms in the vinegar.  Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring to coat the mushrooms in the vinegar as the liquid heats up.  Cover the mushrooms and cook them for 5-6 minutes.

While the mushrooms are cooking, put the diced onions into the bacon drippings in the frying pan and cook for about 5 minutes, until the bacon is translucent and just beginning to brown.

Remove the cover from the pot and drain the mushrooms. Set aside.

Remove the onions and set aside.

Fry the two large eggs in the frying pan.  I fried the eggs until they were over medium.  Poached eggs would also be good with this salad!

To assemble the salads, divide the two cups of arugula between two bowls or salad plates.  Top with balsamic mushrooms, onions, bacon strips.  The fried eggs are the crowning glory for each portion.  Season the eggs with freshly ground black pepper.

The salad can be dressed with an extra drizzle of balsamic vinegar.  Otherwise, break through the egg with a fork and allow the yolk to dress the salad.

Serve this salad with a chunk of bread or a cool drink for a satisfying meal.

Vegetarian Options:  Instead of bacon, use sun-dried tomatoes cut into strips.  Other tasty additions would be candied pralines, bleu cheese crumbles, sunflower seeds, avocado slices, or shaved Parmesan cheese.

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