Remember how nice it was when Dana had the ladies over for lunch? Well, now it was my turn!
Lunch, I thought, would be the perfect occasion to highlight Poppy’s and Ginger’s generous gifts to us.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I was eager to try my hand at making oeufs en gelée, the Parisian traîteur staple I admired on my last trip.
I read several recipes and decided to take a little from here and there. I made an aspic from a recipe on Saveur.com, soft boiled my eggs (rather than poach them, because that’s what the great Anne Willian recommended–and she knows), then added smoked salmon and chives to the mix.
I was tempted to buy real aspic molds (I tracked some down online) but I held back and was lucky enough to open a drawer to find some plastic containers used for coloring Easter eggs. I thought they might work.
Once I had decided on my main dish for the lunch, I had to figure out what to serve with it. A farro salad, I thought, would be nice. (Runny yolk and farro sounded delicious to me!) Asparagus goes well with eggs and smoked salmon, so I tossed some in. I love asparagus and walnuts, so I made a balsamic vinaigrette with walnut oil and minced shallots and tossed some walnuts into the farro, too. I chopped up some spring onions from the garden…
and tossed them in, too.
Miracle! I was able to coax the egg out of the plastic container! Here it is, with the farro salad:
I was thrilled that the eggs worked! I’d never cooked with aspic, so I really didn’t know if they would. (But friends are forgiving, so if the eggs had been swimming in broth, all would still be okay.)
And I got my runny yolk:
For dessert we had pots au chocolat with whipped cream and strawberries.
The great thing about this menu was that everything could be prepared in advance. I made most everything the day before. (So I was able to volunteer in my daughter’s classroom, go for a run, zip out to the market and make some phone calls in the morning!)
After lunch, some of us had to run. (It seemed like we’d just gotten started! So many unfinished threads of conversation to follow up on!) A few of us were able to stick around for more babbling over a cup of tea.
Our lunch together felt a little like sneaking out to see a movie or opening a novel in the middle of a busy day. We could have taken care of business, there’s always so much to do, but we treated ourselves to a break. We slowed down. And I’m so glad we did.
As one friend gathered up her bag, she announced: “We can do it at my house next time!”
Why, I’d love to!