I’d mentioned earlier this summer that I was helping out with the Chincoteague Bay Field Station’s Serving Up The Shore event this year. I created the salad course, which was a simple green salad topped with big hunks of heirloom tomatoes and crispy ham – with, get this…a red-eye vinaigrette. It was pretty amazing, and well received!
For me, the coolest part was getting to know so many of our local farmers and producers. The folks that are out there, fighting the good fight for sustainable and ethical farming and production procedures – right in my own backyard!Big shout out to Johnny at Terrapin Farms, who donated the gorgeous hydroponically grown greens. They’ve got an awesome operation at their farm in Berlin, MD. Was such a treat to visit and see everything in action!Natalie & Stewart at Perennial Roots Farm, for the absolutely perfect ham for the job (I’m sold on Mulefoot, ya’ll) and the epitome of summer in the form of those tomatoes. They’re a wonderful couple who are so passionate about sustainable and biodynamic agriculture, just a wealth of knowledge! We are so fortunate to have them here on the Shore. Be sure to follow them on Instagram too. Their feed is full of wonderful goodness from the farm, that makes me smile on a daily basis.Kristen & Jamie at Eastern Shore Coastal Roasting Company. You guys seriously rock my world. The Fogcutter was just perfect for the vinaigrette. Loved having that bold coffee flavor shine through! Guys, their coffee is ahhhmazing…and, now available for purchase online. Go buy some!The good people at Assawoman Bay Brewing Company, for keeping us in good beer all evening long. Keep on doing what you’re doing guys, looking forward to visiting the brewpub this fall.
And finally, to everyone who came out! It was such fun, and I’m already looking forward to seeing what next year will bring.
I wanted to incorporate as much local flare as I possibly could in my dish. Red-eye gravy is something that’s more common in the deep south, but it’s always been a favorite for me. It’s usually served in the form of a ham steak, that’s been browned in a skillet. Then, the pan deglazed with coffee. Served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner – it’s a classic that’s stood the test of time.
I kept this same theme, but diced up the ham so it got super crispy. Think – meat croutons! Deglazed the pan with the coffee, then added in traditional things you’d find in salad dressing…red wine vinegar, dijon, olive oil. Paired with the simple fresh greens and big hunks of heirloom tomatoes, it translated so perfectly to a summer salad. But, I’m fixin’ to use the same dressing over a roasted vegetable salad this fall. The flavors would definitely mingle very well there, too. Will report back!
Tomato Salad with Red-Eye Vinaigrette
1 ham steak, diced (about 2 cups)
1 cup strongly brewed coffee
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp dijon mustard
3/4 cup olive oil
4 cups mixed greens
2-3 heirloom tomatoes, quartered
Add 1 Tbsp of olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the diced ham, and cook until well browned and crispy. Making sure to stir every now and again, for about 15 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, remove ham to a paper towel lined plate to drain – reserving any drippings that have rendered.
Carefully add the coffee to the skillet, using a wooden spoon to scrape up anything sticking to the botoom of the pan. Increase heat to high and reduce the coffee by about half, about 3 minutes.
Turn off heat and whisk in the vinegar, mustard, 2 tsp kosher salt, and a few grinds black pepper. Carefully pour this mixture into a mason jar, and add the olive oil. Screw the lid on, and shake until well combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve over bed of mixed greens with the chunks of tomato. Drizzle with the vinaigrette. Top with the crispy ham bits.