Sunday, February 20, 2011

Artisinal Greens with Lardons and (not quite) Soft Eggs

Over the last couple of years, variations on the classic French Salade Frisée aux Lardons have found their way in to food magazines and on to cooking shows. The dish caught my attention, but is not the kind of thing I'd make -- or maybe these days, not the kind of thing I made. DH is an excellent egg-poacher, but I've never tried. And soft eggs? Antonia did a fabulous job making them this week on Top Chef All-stars, but Antonia I am not. Still, when I thought about dishes that would showcase my fabulous home-made bacon, it made the short list.While our grocery stores are pretty impressive for a small college town, Frisée is not an option on short notice. The closest match I could find was a couple of bags of Artisinal greens.

For the eggs, I used the technique described in Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home -- put a least 4 inches of water in the pot, bring the water to a rolling simmer, use a slotted spoon to drop in the eggs, cover and remove from the heat, let stand 7 minutes before immersing in an ice bath. And had an Epic Failure. While the yolks were cooked properly for a soft egg the whites were not set, making the eggs impossible to peel. My initial thought was "Yo, Thomas -- you are 0 for 2" ( I was not at all impressed with his fried chicken), Our altitude of 3800 feet likely was an issue. I handed off the eggs to him.  I had a little trouble with the eggs.  They weren't really soft, but they were soft enough.

I used the dressing recipe for this salad I found online at Epicurious. This makes enough for four first course servings.

Artisinal Greens with Lardons Ingredients:

  • 6 1/8-inch-thick slices bacon, cut into 1-inch-wide pieces (to form lardons)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons Sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. Cook bacon in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp, about 12 minutes. If necessary pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat.
  2. Add oil and shallot to skillet and cook, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add vinegar, quickly stirring and scraping up brown bits, then stir in sugar and salt.
  3. Immediately pour hot dressing and over greens in a large bowl and toss well.
  4. Divide the greens between four plates and top each with two egg halves and six or so lardons.
Yield: 4 first course servings
Prep time: 20 minutes

For each bite, combine a bit of the creamy egg, some crispy salty bacon, and a bit of tartness from the dressing and greens for a divine mouthful.

I love this salad. I served the salad with tomato soup for a family dinner, but I could easily serve it at the fanciest dinner party I can imagine hosting. It's the kind of treat I might make myself on a night when I'm home alone. I don't typically consider salads to be comfort food, but this one qualified. It will be making a return appearance. Maybe often enough for me to perfect a soft egg...

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