Monday, April 25, 2011
A Perfect Pair
One of my all time favorite salads is a frisée aux lardons salad, mostly because of the lardons. Well, to be honest, only because of the lardons. The more the better, obvs. I recently discovered that frisée aux lardons is also known as Salade Lyonnaise. Who knew? (French people, I suppose.) The base is a pile of frisée that is tossed with a warm shallot-red wine vinegar dressing and cooked bacon, and then is topped off with a poached egg. Some may add croutons, I add blue cheese. I'm sure it's some form of sacrilege, but I totally dig blue cheese and bacon...on burgers and in my salads. Cobb salad, anyone?
I don't particularly love poached eggs (and I suck at making them too - evidenced by me dropping the first one I made on the kitchen floor), but can somehow get beyond the runny yolk by adding extra lardons to my salad. I mean, it hardly qualifies as a salad. It's breakfast in disguise! Which reminds me of a joke: Bacon and Eggs walk into a bar. They try and try and try to order a drink, to no avail. Finally, the bartender walks over and says, "Sorry, we don't serve breakfast."
Frisée aux Lardons
1/2 pound frisée (French curly endive) about 4 cups torn
6 - 8 ounces slab bacon, pancetta, or thick-cut bacon slices
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons chopped shallot
3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
Bleu cheese (such as Stilton), crumbled (optional)
1. Tear the frisée into bite-size pieces and place in a large bowl. If using slab bacon (or pancetta), cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Cut bacon slices crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick sticks (lardons).
2. In a heavy skillet cook the bacon over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 8 minutes, and then remove the skillet from the heat.
3. Meanwhile, half-fill a 4-quart saucepan with water and stir in the white vinegar. Bring the liquid to a bare simmer. Break each egg into a teacup or small bowl. Slide the eggs, one at a time, into the simmering liquid. Cook the eggs for about 2 minutes for runny yolks to about 4 minutes for firm yolks. Remove each egg with a slotted spoon and drain briefly on paper towel then set aside. (The cooked eggs can be rewarmed briefly in simmering water if desired.)
4. Reheat the bacon in its skillet over moderate heat, if necessary. Add the shallot and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add the red-wine vinegar and boil 10 seconds. Immediately pour the hot dressing over the frisée and toss with salt and pepper to taste.
5. Divide the salad among 4 plates and top with the drained poached eggs (and blue cheese if using). Season the eggs with salt and pepper and serve the salad immediately. Serves 4.