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A Twist on Gourmet Magazine’s Salad Lyonnaise

Crispy prosciutto, perfect poached eggs and a shallot-butter vinaigrette. It’s a salad, you hear?

chicorysaladFor a couple of whirlwind months, I’ve been looking forward to participating in Gourmet, Unbound, the ongoing epilogue to Gourmet Magazine created by the bloggers at Pithy & Cleaver, Sassy Radish and In Jennie’s Kitchen. Lots of us miss Gourmet, and this project gives everyone a chance to help keep the spirit of the magazine alive by cooking and writing about a recipe from the Gourmet archives for the current month. I’m glad to finally make a contribution.

Salad Lyonnaise is a classic French salad of frisée with lardons, poached egg and warm vinaigrette. Gourmet‘s recipe, from the February, 1999 issue, is a relatively classic version. That recipe is online here at Epicurious.com. If you’ve spent much time around here, you know I have a tendency to tinker with all but a sacred few recipes. So this take on the classic is a little different. For once, though, I’ve got a couple of decent excuses.

Although I really like frisée, I already had half a head of its close cousin chicory left over in the fridge from this salad. And although I really like lardons —they’re thick little sticks of pan-fried bacon, so “I really like lardons” is a tautology, to be sure—we had some prosciutto that needed to be used. And here’s the kicker. We’ve only got three days to eat down the fridge, because that’s when we’re moving. To a house with this for a kitchen floor. It’s not like we spend much time in the kitchen though, right? So that should be fine. Hello?

Back to the point, you may also be wondering why I buttered the vinaigrette. Well, that’s because it has cooked shallots in it. And all instances of cooked shallots without the presence of butter (all of them, dangit!) are nothing more than wasted opportunities. Plus, lardons yield a lot of fat, but crispy prosciutto doesn’t, so your pan will need a little lube as you start to make the dressing.

Alright, I wish I could say I weren’t writing this post from the inside of a moving box strewn with outgrown baby clothes, but a girl can’t always have everything. Enjoy your salad, and stay tuned for more about the new digs and an upcoming mostly-DIY, mostly-budget kitchen renovation. I can’t imagine there’ll be any room for self-deprecation there.

Chicory Salad with Crispy Prosciutto and Warm Shallot-Butter Vinaigrette

Ingredients

  • 1 head chicory (or escarole or frisee), washed and torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/4 pound sliced prosciutto, sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide strips
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon white vinegar (optional)
  • 4 very fresh eggs
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Divide the chicory among four shallow bowls and set aside.
  • In a medium pan (preferably not non-stick), melt 1/2 Tablespoon of the butter over medium-low heat. Add the prosciutto strips and cook, stirring occasionally to separate the strips, until some of the pieces are very crisp and some are just beginning to crisp. Remove the prosciutto to a small bowl.
  • Fill a wide, straight-sided pan about half full with water and pour in the white vinegar if using. (The vinegar will help the egg whites to hold their shape while poaching.) Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat until the water is at a bare simmer.
  • Melt the remaining 1/2 Tablespoon butter in the pan. Add the minced shallot and cook for a minute or two, until just beginning to soften. Add the red wine vinegar to the pan, stirring constantly for about 30 seconds and scraping up all the browned goodness at the bottom of the pan. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the olive oil.
  • Crack the eggs one by one into a small bowl, carefully sliding each into the pan of barely simmering water. Cook for three minutes, then remove each egg from the pan very carefully with a large slotted spoon, pat dry, and rest one egg on top of each bowl of chicory. Sprinkle each bowl with 1/4 of the crisped prosciutto and pour some of the warm dressing overtop. Grind a generous amount of black pepper into each bowl. Serve immediately with a hunk of crusty bread.
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