Monday, September 01, 2008

Frisee Salad with Lardons and Poached Eggs (Page 139)


  • Date: Wednesday, August 27, 2008 -- 9pm
  • Location: Bloomington, IN
  • Kitchen: My Apartment
  • Dining Companion: Matty
  • Recipe Rating: A

I have been putting off making this salad for quite some time, mainly because my special gentleman is generally not a fan of runny egg yolks, and this salad is all about the egg yolks. The concept is incredibly simple. I chopped and cooked some thick-cut bacon. I then added some chopped shallots and red wine vinegar to the bacon and bacon fat to form the salad dressing. Meanwhile, I carefully poached an egg. To assemble the salad I poured the hot dressing on some frisee, plated the greens, and then topped them with the poached eggs. Eating this salad was a wonderful experience. As soon as my fork broke the yolk it oozed all over the salad, mixing with the super-vinegary dressing to form something completely delicious! Frisee isn't my favorite green -- in fact it is my least favorite green in those pre-packaged "mixed greens" you can buy at the store. It's generally too bitter for my taste. In this preparation, though, it was fantastic. The egg yolk mellowed out the bitterness perfectly. Everything about this recipe was perfectly balanced. The dressing was intensely vinegary, which was the perfect contrast to the yolk. The saltiness of the bacon was a welcome complement to the dish, and the richness of the bacon fat gave it a lovely heartiness. I was worried Matty wouldn't be too excited about an egg yolk running all over his salad, but he took only two bites before saying, "A. I give this salad an A." I couldn't disagree with him. It was an excellent example of how a few simple ingredients can come together in 20 minutes to form something marvelous. In fact, I could go for another one of these salads right now...

Here is the recipe.

At the beginning of August my special gentleman moved most of his belongings into storage in Michigan. The remainder of the contents of his apartment were brought to my place in Indiana, where he is staying for most of this academic year. We dropped off the many boxes, and then took off traveling for three weeks, so they sat, still packed, on the kitchen floor. We are back now though, and to motivate ourselves to unpack we threw a little dinner party last night (there's nothing like a party to force you to clean your apartment!). In theory we weren't going to bring too much of Matty's stuff here -- just his clothes, his books, and a few personal items. But it didn't make sense to either throw away the contents of his pantry or put them in storage for a year, so we brought that too. Probably if you took two normal people off the street and consolidated the contents of their kitchens into one it would be no big deal. But my kitchen (as you might imagine) is jam-packed, and I have been cooking at Matty's place often for two years now, so his pantry was pretty full two. And now everything is at my place! We have at least two of everything. Every spice you can imagine, we have at least two bottles (in some cases up to five!). We have seven boxes of hot cereal. We have 3 huge bottles of extra-virgin olive oil. And then there are the item where my special gentleman and I each have our own favorite brand. For example, peanut butter. I am all about Jif, but my special gentleman likes the all-natural kind. So we each had a jar at each apartment, not to mention a few back-ups, so there are 6 jars of peanut butter here now. I could go on... Basically the place is overflowing with food. On nights that we don't eat from The Book, we are trying to eat from the huge box of food in the guest bedroom. We have done pretty well with the cereal (we started with six boxes and we are down to four) and the microwave popcorn (we started with five boxes and we are down to three), but we still have five containers of cocoa, six of baking powder, etc... It's going to be a long time before we need to buy any pantry staples again!

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