Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Salads made with lardons are a bistro staple in France. Chef Joseph Manzare's version (Globe restaurant, San Francisco), which uses cubes of bacon cut from a slab served over frisée with poached eggs, is more meal than starter. It's great for lunch or dinner or even before breakfast.
The lardons can be replaced with sliced bacon, but the pleasing texture of the cubes makes it worth seeking out slab bacon for this recipe. Or you can make lardons with pancetta or guanciale. Unused portions of slab bacon, pancetta or guanciale can be frozen for future use.
Recipe from "The Niman Ranch Cookbook" by Bill Niman and Janet Fletcher.
1 pound apple wood-smoked slab bacon, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
8 small eggs
1 1/2 pounds frisée (about 3 large heads), white parts only, cut into bite-size pieces
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
Put the bacon in a large skillet and place over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring to cook evenly, for 10 to 15 minutes, until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and cover loosely with aluminum foil to keep warm. Discard all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon drippings from the skillet. Set the skillet aside.
Fill a large skillet with water. Add a pinch of salt and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Crack the eggs into small individual bowls, 2 per bowl.
Meanwhile, put the frisée into a large bowl. Heat the reserved bacon drippings over medium heat. Add the vinegar and cook for 1 minute. Pour over the frisée. Add the bacon and toss to coat the frisée and bacon evenly with the dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper and toss again. Divide among 4 individual bowls.
When the water comes to a boil, slide the eggs from the bowls into the water, holding the bowls as close to the water as possible. The eggs might stick together, which is fine. Add all 4 bowls of eggs at once, working quickly but carefully, and cook for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes, until the whites are cooked through and the yolks are still runny.
Using the slotted spoon, remove the eggs two at a time and place on top of each bowl of frisée. Serve.