Practicing & perfecting poaching--now what?
Salade aux Lardons (also known as Frisee aux Lardons) is a popular French salad that uses lettuce, crispy bacon, and a poached egg on top. It's wonderful. Here's one of many different variations:
Salade Aux Lardons
1/2 pound slab bacon cut into 1/4-inch cubes (I used applewood smoked bacon cut into 1/2-inch pieces)
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon white vinegar
6 eggs, poached for 2 - 3 minutes
1-1/2 pounds baby frisee (3 heads, washed, broken into small pieces, and dried)
Croutons (recipe follows)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and blanch the slab bacon in it for 2 minutes to remove the excess fat. Drain in a colander.
2. Place the bacon in a small pan over medium heat and fry it until crispy, 3 - 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels.
3. Prepare the vinaigrette by combining the sherry vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl with a wire whisk. Continue whisking vigorously while slowly adding the vegetable oil. (Vinaigrette can be made in advance and kept in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.)
4. Fill a shallow saucepan with enough water to submerge the eggs, add the white vinegar (never any salt), place over medium heat, and bring to a simmer (not a rolling boil). Crack the eggs carefully, just above the water, and let them slide into the water so they don't break up. (Alternatively, crack them into a small cup or bowl and carefully pour them into the water.) Poach the eggs in batches of two for 2 - 3 minutes apiece. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the poached eggs to a plate covered with paper towels to drain. Serve while still warm.
5. Toss the salad in a bowl with the vinaigrette, add half the bacon, and add the croutons. Season with salt and pepper and toss well. Place the salad on individual plates and lay a poached egg on each. Sprinkle with the remainder of the bacon and parsley.
1/2 loaf of crusty bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
2. Combine the bread, olive oil, Parmesan, and salt and pepper in a large bowl, and toss well.
3. Transfer the bread cubes to a baking sheet and bake for 3 - 5 minutes, until golden brown.
I'm partial to a roasted asparagus appetizer - roast asparagus under broiler for 8 mins with salt, pepper and olive oil. During the last minute, top several spears with thinly sliced prosciutto (optional). Pull out of the oven, top with parmesan, a poached egg and some lemon zest or gremolata. Delicious!
Lately I've been doing roasted root veggies (parsnip, potato, rutabega) topped with a poached egg for either breakfast or dinner. Take the veggies--peel, if necessary--toss w/olive oil, S & P & roast in a 400 degree oven. Time of roasting depends on the size of the cut--I try for a 1-in dice, then do parsnips first, then add rutabega, then potato. Roast until they are crispy/brown. (I have found if I want to cut down roasting time then I nuke them for a few minutes in a covered bowl with water.) Top with a poached egg, it's delicious! You can also add herbs (I'm partial to rosemary & thyme), bacon or prosciutto, and, if you're feeling really decadent, hollendaise sauce! Yum!