Sunday, July 15, 2012

Frisée Salad with Lardons and coddled Eggs

Saturday was Bastille Day, so there was nothing else to do but throw on tablecloth from Provence and cook a french meal.  Helen from work and her husband were keen to have a traditional french meal with several courses including hors doeuvres, salad, soup, main, dessert and cheese.  So I tried to oblige, though due to the heat I nixed the soup. The first dish that we made was my favourite French salad, a warm salad with a poached egg on top.

We ended up being 13 for dinner, so poaching that many eggs all to be ready at the same time, seemed to be too hard, so we (Helen I think) came up with the idea of coddling in muffin tins instead.

This fed 13 but I will give ingredients for 4 as that seems like a more normal quantity. Traditionally this would have been done with just frisee lettuce which can stand up to the warm dressing, but we did add some other greens to stretch it out and that was fine too.

6 ounces salt pork or thick-cut bacon slices
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Butter to line the muffin tins
4 large eggs

1 head of Frisee lettuce

Cut the salt pork into small strips (lardons) and fry slowly until they have given off most of their fat and are crispy.

Just starting to cook the lardons
I am afraid I did not get a picture of the cooked lardons, but they were crispy and brown and swimming in the fat that they had given off.

Butter the muffin pans, best to use non stick ones.  heat the oven to 350 and crack an egg in to each hollow, sprinkle with salt and pepper then put in the oven until the white has just set, this took about 15 minutes.

When the eggs are ready add the vinegar to the lardons in the frying pan, then pour this on to the frisee and toss together.

Now divide equally amongst the salad plates and top with an egg. My sous chefs Nancy, Connie and Helen kicked in to high gear here with 13 plates being plated up, photographed and served in no time flat, what a team.

There were a couple of people very sceptical, about the soft egg on a salad, but I think they were won over, it is certainly a favourite of mine, and becoming more popular in restaurants here.

This was the first course, but in order to meet my challenge I had to have an hors doevres, so I pulled out an old favourite pissaldiere which we enjoyed with a pre dinner drink.

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