Nancy Krcek Allen has been a chef-educator for more than 25 years and has taught professional and recreational classes in California, New York City and Michigan. Her culinary textbook, “Discovering Global Cuisines” was released in March 2013.
French Salad Lyonnaise
3 oz. country style bread (3-4 c. diced into 1/2-inch cubes)
1 T. olive oil
8 oz. thick-cut bacon, cut into lardons (1/4-inch wide strips)
12-oz. head frisée or curly endive, about 8 cups washed, dried and torn or sliced
4 large eggs
1 t. white wine vinegar
3 T. olive oil
5 T. red wine vinegar, divided, to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Toss bread cubes with olive oil. Spread bread in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake until golden brown, 10-15 minutes.
Lay bacon into a 12-inch skillet. Heat skillet over medium heat and fry bacon until crisp, turning to cook both sides evenly. Discard all but 3 tablespoons bacon fat.
Toss frisée into a large mixing bowl.
Poach the eggs: Fill a 2-quart saucepan with cold water and white wine vinegar, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a bare bubble. Break eggs into pan. Simmer eggs until whites are set and yolks still runny, 3-4 minutes. Pour water off eggs and set them aside to keep warm while finishing salad. (To hold eggs overnight or up to two days: chill poached eggs, and reheat just before serving in simmering water.)
Add oil to skillet with bacon fat, and heat over high heat. When fat is hot, pour over frisée and toss well. The heat should wilt the greens slightly (to wilt greens further, place in hot skillet and toss with tongs then remove to bowl). Pour 4 tablespoons vinegar into the hot pan, deglaze, and cook until it has reduced by half, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Pour hot vinegar over salad and toss. Toss again with croutons and bacon. Taste salad, and season with salt and freshly ground pepper and more vinegar, to taste.
Divide salad among four plates. Scoop a warm egg with a slotted spoon, blot dry and place on top of one salad. Finish with remaining eggs and salad and serve immediately. To eat, break egg yolk and toss it with salad to coat the leaves — smoky, bitter-sharp, sour and unctuous-rich all in one dish.