Eastside Road, December 3, 2011—FRISÉE AUX LARDONS : clearly one of the Hundred Plates. I can't imagine when I first tasted this absolutely perfect dish. I must have known immediately that it was perfect. Bistrot cooking at its most soigné; French cuisine at its most characteristic.
We were at the Farm Market in Santa Rosa today — in winter it's the nearest fairly complete market, with produce, bakery goods, fish and shellfish, a band that sounded like the Hot Club of San Francisco. Yael Bernier was there: we buy garlic and peppers from her at the Healdsburg market, and it's nice to know we can stay in touch out of season.
She had a beautiful head of frisée, and seeing it I was immediately struck with a strong desire for a Salade Lyonnaise. I looked it up online, to make sure I wasn't forgetting anything, and then made the dish you see here:
A little olive oil in the black iron skillet, got good and hot. Throw in some bacon you've cut into cubes: I used maybe three ounces altogether. When that's crisp, or as crisp as it can get in all that oil and bacon fat, throw in a couple of shallots chopped not too fine.
Oh! I forgot croutons! Oh well: cut a couple of thick slices of French bread, stale is better, into cubes, and toast them in a dry iron skillet with a little salt.
Meanwhile, boil some salted water; then turn it down and slide a couple of eggs into it to poach.
You've washed the frisée, yes? Then tear it apart, put it in a mixing bowl with the croutons, pour the bacon-shallot mixture over and toss, adjust for salt, distribute among the serving plates, and put a poached egg atop each one.
Afterward we had a baked potato, nothing more.
Rosé de soignée, Bergerie l'Hortus (Languedoc), 2010: crisp, fresh, clean, tasty