Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Bistro Classics

I have no idea why but I have recently been reminiscing a ton about France. This may be because I have not visited Paris in a few months or the fact that the price of Roquefort will be skyrocketing soon. There are a lot of things to miss about France, though I think the food and the magic that is Gallic commensality top my list. I sheepishly admit the all-to-frequent cravings for a gritty bistro steak au poivre, as cliché as it sounds, with an over dressed salad and stale baguette. Ah yes, the timeless bistro grub found across the octagon from the smallest village to the capital herself. A tall glass of vin du jour usually makes the meal go down a little easier and you simply cannot recreate the café life of Paris though many restaurants strive to. Steak au poivre can be ordered, eaten, and enjoyed in any self-respecting French restaurant and other classics can be pulled off with relative ease in the hands of a capable cook. At times when I feel nostalgic it is fun to cook up some truly froggy dishes that transport me to the smoke filled (this is a dated vision of the city of lights) café or bistro. While riding the train back up to my apartment earlier this evening I was struck by a sudden vision of a crisp frisee salad packed with lardons, topped with a poached egg. I set about realizing my epiphanous dinner at once, using bacon instead of the French lardons which are a bit harder to get a hold of. Lardons are small pieces of pork fat that taste like glorified bacon. They add a distinctly rich, salty flavor to food and are also used to lard meat in a roast to help keep it moist throughout cooking. I would say that I hit the mark with my frisee salad, effectively voyaging across the Atlantic for a fleeting culinary moment through this bistro favorite. As always, I encourage you to enjoy and share delicious food and home cooked meals with yourself and others!

Frisee, Lardons, And Poached Egg Salad
Serves 4

1 Large head of Frisee (about 4 C.), separated, washed, and drained
1/2 C. Lardons or 6 strips of thick cut Bacon
1 Tbs. White Vinegar
4 Eggs
1 Tbs. Whole grain Mustard
1 Tsp. Sherry or Cider Vinegar
2 Tbs. Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper

1. Place frisee in a large bowl. Set a deep skillet or wide mouthed pan filled with 3 inches of water to a boil, covered, over high heat.
2. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat and render lardons or bacon until crispy. Remove from heat, drain well, and set aside.
3. Whisk together cider and mustard until emulsified then drizzle in olive oil while stirring vigorously. Season vinaigrette with salt and pepper and set aside.
4. When the water boils, remove lid and add white vinegar and salt. Crack eggs into four individual bowls, teacups, or ramekins. Submerge the lip of each individual egg dish into boiling water, letting each egg delicately set in the water. Cover immediately, turn off the heat, and let stand for 2.5 to 3 minutes.
5. While the eggs are poaching, quickly toss frisee and bacon with vinaigrette and arrange on individual plates. Top each salad with a poached egg and serve immediately.

No comments: