This recipe from Chef Laurent Quenioux of Vertical Wine Bar in Pasadena, Calif. is a classic French bistro dish that can be served both as a light starter dish or, in a larger portion, with a piece of baguette for a light lunch. — Allison Beck
- ½ baguette, cubed
- 2 teaspoons melted butter
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 8 ounces cubed lardons or pork back fat (sliced bacon can also be used)
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 small shallot, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons red wine or Champagne vinegar
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1-2 teaspoons white vinegar, for poaching
- 4 eggs
- 2 large heads frisée
Coat bread cubes with butter, salt, and pepper and bake on a baking sheet at 375 degrees until toasted, about 10-15 minutes.
Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Blanch lardons briefly to render a bit of the fat. Drain and sauté until crisp. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the mustard, shallot, garlic, thyme, and vinegar. Whisk the extra-virgin olive oil into the shallot-vinegar mixture until the fat is incorporated and an emulsion forms.
To poach the eggs, bring about 3 inches of water to a boil in a large sauté pan. Add the vinegar. Once the water boils, turn the heat to low. With a large slotted spoon, spin the water to create a vortex. Crack one egg into a teacup then lower the teacup into the water. Before releasing the egg, allow for part of the white to solidify. Then, let the egg go in the water and continue to gently keep the vortex going, so as to keep the whites together. Let the egg cook for about 3-5 minutes, or until the white is set and the yolk, when gently prodded, is semi-soft. Using your slotted spoon remove the egg from the water and keep warm.
Separate the frisée leaves. Put the frisée and the croutons in a large bowl and toss with enough vinaigrette to coat lightly. Divide greens and croutons among plates and top each with a poached egg. Crack black pepper over the top and serve warm.