Woah! New jobs sure do take up a lot of time and energy. Over the past few weeks, I have been lucky to make it past 9:30 pm before snoring ensues on the couch. Clearly, this is not how I like to live my life and I'm happy to say after week three at said sweet new job, I am back to normal energy levels and ready to blog.
When life gets busy, I tend to stick to some basic recipes. I am thrilled if I achieve a nice bruschetta or a tasty salad for supper. When I barely have time to wolf down a bowl of cereal in the morning, my meal planning for dinners has definitely gone to pot. Here is an easy week-night supper salad, and truth be told, has more to do with bacon and eggs than it does a healthy salad.
Salad Lyonnaise, although famous and rather popular, only recently made it into my week-night salad line up. After dining with our friends at Le Bouchon here in Chicago, I decided this was a salad I could easily serve my husband without him asking "what's next?"
Make sure the bacon you're buying is the very best, and thick! Get a slab of bacon if you can and dice it yourself or get some thick un-smoked slices from the butcher.
I used some day-old french baguette to make the croutons, but use ciabatta if you have it around. The secret to this salad is the hot, vinegary dressing made with shallots. Okay, there is a second secret: any salad with a poached egg quivering on top ready to ooze its soft center into the warm dressing is heaven on earth.
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine
1 large bunch of frisee salad leaves
4 thick slices of un-smoked bacon, cubed
1/2 french baguette, cubed
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 free-range eggs- make sure they are fresh!
3 tbs red wine vinegar
1 tsp rice wine vinegar (for the poached eggs)
1 tsp dijon mustard
salt and pepper
Firstly, make your croutons by grilling your cubed bread on a grill pan over medium heat until crisp and hot. Remove from the heat and set aside, but leave them on the pan so they are still warm when serving. You can bake these in the oven if you prefer, but the grill pan is easier for me.
While the croutons are cooking, get a shallow pan of water boiling on the stove top for the eggs.
Also pull out a slotted spoon for poaching once the water is boiled. Have ready the rice wine vinegar.
Fry your cubed bacon until crisp and golden (in a dry pan- they have enough fat that will render as you cook) and remove with a slotted spoon onto kitchen paper to drain away excess grease. Your pan will still have your bacon drippings to which you will add the chopped shallots and fry gently until tender over medium heat for about 1 minute. Add the red wine vinegar and bring to a boil, then take it off the heat.
If you're like me, you will need to pay full attention to the poaching of eggs. I prefer to have everything ready to go before I begin poaching so up to this point, the salad is ready to construct once the eggs are perfect. I have poached eggs many ways, but I think that Elise Bauer of Simply Recipes does it best: follow her instructions to poach an egg and you can't go wrong.
Prepare your salad plates with a big pile of the frisee salad leaves. Sprinkle over the bacon and croutons and season to taste. Place your poached egg on top of the leaves and drizzle with the hot dressing. Dig in!!