Take baby steps into this new lifestyle

EC: The Formula for the Perfect Breakfast Salad
Credit: photo by PeteerS via getty images

Who decides which foods are breakfast foods? What mysterious board holds semiannual meetings to shuffle pancakes into the yea folder and cookies into the nay folder? What stuffy bureaucracy approved of hash browns yet scorned french fries?

Me, I’m more of a breakfast iconoclast. Give me pie for breakfast any day. Leftover soup? Put it in a mug, with or without an egg cracked into it. And give me bright, perky salad greens first thing in the morning—the fussier and frillier the leaves, the better.

Don’t look so shocked. Salad for breakfast isn’t weird: healthy and endlessly customizable, it’s a great way to start your day. Not to mention a traditional one in some parts of the world, including much of the Middle East. But let’s take baby steps. You can dress your greens in traditional breakfast trappings to ease you into the salad for breakfast lifestyle. Here’s how:

The Greens

Like I said, fussy, frilly leaves are your friend here. Now is not the time for your romaine or your green leaf. You need something that stands up to hearty toppings and contributes flavor of its own: Think watercress, think endive, think radicchio, think mountains upon mountains of frisée. Or, alternatively, think sturdy blank canvas. Think ice berg.

The Toppings

Here’s where we cave to the breakfast powers that be. Crisped, chopped bacon is a must for those who eat meat, and simple boiled potatoes—cut into bite size pieces—also lend a breakfasty air. I like to add blanched green beans, too, or maybe halved cherry tomatoes when they’re in season. Even sliced avocado would be great. The key is you want the toppings to be hearty.

The Vinaigrette

Hope you saved that bacon grease, because it will be very tasty as a simple vinaigrette when paired with lemon juice. Or you could go with a more traditional vinaigrette, or even a green goddess dressing.

The Egg

And, finally, top your salad with an egg. Poached is probably best, but if you’re not handy with a simmer, a fried egg would work fine. The key is to coat your salad in glistening egg yolk, so whatever egg you go for, let it be one with a runny yolk.

If that’s still not enough for you, serve your breakfast salad with a couple slices of toast. My guess is, though, what with the frilly greens and bacon and potatoes and egg and all, you’re going to be good with just the salad.

And the satisfaction of breaking free of the aribitrary confines of breakfast, obviously.