Wednesday, July 27, 2011

lyonnaise salad for one

Look ma! I poached an egg! Seriously. I have only ever attempted this once before and it was an epic disaster. I was craving poached eggs on toast at the time (my favourite breakfast, especially when liberally doused with hot sauce) and no matter what I did, the whites spread out through the water like a spider's web. It was a mess of vinegar, water and albumen. Adam swooped in to rescue my breakfast and while his poached eggs were miles ahead of mine, they were still sub-par and somewhat disastrous.

I've come to the conclusion that the eggs really do have to be super fresh for it to work. I have based this on empirical evidence as well as the advice of a colleague. Last time, I'd been following a youtube video made by someone who stated that the fresh egg rule was preposterous, then proceeded to make a perfect poached egg. Maybe you can hack it with week old eggs if you're an egg poaching superstar, but for us mortals - fresh is best.

It turns out the poached eggs are equally good (even superior?) on salad. I've made this salad with hard boiled eggs and it was delicious, but I was inspired by Lucy Waverman to poach the egg this time around. I also had poached egg on some kind of potato salad thing at Buvette Chez Simone on Parc. Amazeballs.

Poaching tips: Bring your water and vinegar to a rolling boil, then remove the pot from the heat. Turn it down to medium low - you will be putting your pot back on the element once it's calmed down a bit. I managed to keep my egg in place by cracking it into a ladel. I gently submerged it, millimeters at a time, and let the boiling water pour into it slowly. I let the egg cook long enough that it had a bit of structure, then gently eased it out of the ladel (with the help of a spoon) and into the water to fend for itself. It was supposed to take about 3 minutes to cook, but I'd left the pot off the heat and it took much longer. That's why I suggest you put the pot back on the element. My yolk was a little overdone, but it still ran into the salad a bit. It was so rich and delicious. Is there anything a poached egg can't make better??

lyonnaise salad for one

1/4 cup diced pancetta
1 cup of french bread, torn into cubes (I used 2 day old baguette, it was fine)
1 small clove of garlic
1 egg
1 tbsp white vinegar
As many salad greens as you want for yourself (having arugula in the mix is very nice)
pepper to taste

(makes enough for a full salad)

2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp dijon mustard (the grainy kind if you have it!)
1 heaping tbsp finely chopped shallots
pepper to taste

Fry your pancetta until crispy. Remove from pan and allow to cool. Drain all but 1 tbsp of fat from the pan, then throw in your minced garlic and bread cubes. Cook, tossing around a bit, until your bread is toasty and nicely browned. Remove from heat and cool.

Combine all salad dressing ingredients.

Add white vinegar to a small pot of water and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and gently submerge your egg into the water (see tips above). Return to medium-low heat and cook until whites don't jiggle like a waterbed, it should be around 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from pot with a slotted spoon and cool in a cold water bath.

In a bowl, toss your greens, pancetta and croutons with as much dressing as suits your taste. Place your egg on top and break the yolk, allowing it to run down into your salad. Tell yourself that if it's salad, it's healthy... right?

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