Recipe: Salade Lyonnais

Poaching an egg isn't the easiest thing in the world. If you've never done it, give yourself room for improvement. It takes practice.

Salade Lyonnais
serves two

4 cups frisée, torn into large bite-size pieces
1/4 cup lardons (thick slab bacon sliced against the grain into 1/4" pieces)
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
2 large eggs (as fresh as possible)
3 tablespoons chopped shallot
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste

Put frisée into a bowl large enough to toss greens with dressing before serving.

Cook lardons in small skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and remove from heat. Set aside.

To poach eggs: Fill saucepan with 4" water and add white vinegar. Bring liquid to gentle simmer. Break each egg into small bowl or cup. With slotted spoon, stir liquid to create whirlpool, then slide first egg into liquid. With spoon, immediately push solidifying white around yolk, coaxing white to stay with yolk. Simmer eggs 1 1/2 - 2 minutes. Gently remove with slotted spoon and reserve in bowl of warm water.

Reheat bacon in its skillet over moderate heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add vinegar and swirl briefly. Immediately pour hot dressing over greens and toss well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Divide salad between 2 bowls and top each with poached egg. Season eggs with additional salt and pepper. Serve immediately.