Irish breakfast in a salad ~ who would have imagined! Ok, not quite, but this was ‘sort of’ my inspiration for this recipe. I started using green and yellow split peas in salads recently as I love, if anything, the colour they offer. Split green peas were the basis for this salad and it got me thinking; “What’s better with peas other than ham or bacon!?” Then I thought, “bacon and eggs! And peas, and fried tomatoes in a salad!! Could it, would it work?!”. Well it does *WOOP!* (Although the tomatoes are roasted as opposed to fried). Then I upped the ante and included sticky balsamic as I adore this stuff and it too pairs brilliantly with bacon and egg, so I was onto a winner! You’ll need a ricer to shred the eggs, but if you don’t have one you could just chop the eggs up really finely.
For the salad:
- 1 cup pumpkin seeds
Light olive oil spray
1 cup puy (French) lentils
1 cup green split peas
1 punnet baby tomatoes
4 free-range eggs
8 rashers, free-range bacon, rind and excess fat removed
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoon light olive oil
Handful rocket leaves, finely chopped
100g good quality feta or goat’s cheese (optional)
Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
For the dressing:
- 2 teaspoons good quality balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon EVOO
- Small handful fresh dill and chives
Pre-heat oven to 180˚C (350˚F) fan-forced. Scatter pumpkin on a baking tray and season with a little freshly ground black pepper. Spray lightly with light olive oil then toast in the oven for 10 minutes or until just golden and crisp. Remove and allow to cool.
At the same time, place whole baby tomatoes on another baking tray and roast in the oven alongside the seeds for 20 minutes or until the skins start to burst. Remove and allow to cool.
Cook peas and lentils as per your packet instructions (usually it’s 1 cup peas/lentils x 3 cups water, bring to boil then simmer for 30 mins until cooked). Drain and rinse thoroughly then drain again and toss both into a large mixing bowl. Season with salt and black pepper and 1/2 tablespoon EVOO. Combine together. Set aside.
Half fill a small saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Using a spoon (to avoid cracking the shell), carefully add the eggs to the boiling water and cook for 10 minutes. Remove and run until cold water before shelling and allowing eggs to cool completely. When cool, push the eggs through a ricer fitted on its large hole disc (you don’t want the riced egg to be too small), do this over the mixing bowl so it falls directly into the pea and lentil mix.
To cook bacon, trim excess fat and cut rashers into small pieces then fry in a pan over medium-high heat for 2 minutes (you don’t need to add oil to the pan first), stirring often. Mix 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar into a cup with 1 tablespoon olive oil and pour over bacon, (it will sizzle like crazy so avoid getting splattered!) Turn down the heat a little and continue cooking, stirring consistently until bacon is caramelised, golden brown and cooked through. Allow to cook on kitchen paper, then add to the bowl along with 3/4 of the pre-roasted pumpkin seeds (retaining 1/4 for scattering over the salads just before serving), tomatoes, and chopped rocket. To make the dressing add oil and vinegar to a screwtop jar and shake to combine, pour over salad ingredients and combine all together thoroughly (taking care not to break up the tomatoes too much). Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
To serve, turn out onto a serving platter and crumble the feta or goats cheese all over the top along with the extra pumpkin seeds, feathery dill leaves and chives snipped over.