Thursday, October 8, 2009

Bacon, Egg and Greens

That title really doesn't do the elegance of this dish justice, but c'est la vie. There are more important things to discuss. Credit for this amazing creation really goes to my friend Harold, who made it himself and told me about it. Oh my god. It is so delicious. The basic concept is fairly simple, though the execution is somewhat tricky - some greens dressed in a light vinaigrette, topped with crispy pork in some form - be it lardon, pork belly, or bacon - and then crowned with - are you ready for this? - a poached egg. Oh, it is a thing of delicious beauty. I had it as a pre-dinner appetizer, but it would really shine on a brunch menu, I think.

The mechanics:

First, cut 2 strips of bacon in half, and roughly chop another one (or more). Set them to work frying over low heat. Next, in a small pot with high sides, pour in water such that it's at least 3 inches deep, and set that to boiling. Now, take a small bowl and prepare your vinaigrette. This can obviously be however you like to do it - I used about 2 gloops of olive oil, 2 gloops of red wine vinegar, the juice of 1/4 lemon, and some garlic salt. Were I doing it again, I'd actually half the oil and double the lemon juice, but do whatever you like. Whisk merrily with a fork.
Now, your bacon should be pretty close to done (you remembered to flip it, right? I know I didn't tell you, but I figured you'd put that together on your own), so pull out a plate and assemble a pile of greens. Your water is boiling, is it not? Turn it down to a simmer. Now, back to the greens. I used a baby arugula blend, because it's what I had lying around (because I LOVE arugula, like the liberal commie I am). Dump the vinaigrette over it and toss carefully (or you could use a bowl, which would require less care with the tossing, but also a somewhat less exciting presentation). Next, remove the bacon from the pan. Toss the chopped bacon in with the salad and lay the strips on top to form a little bed.
Now! Here comes the hard part - the poaching. This was the first time I did it, but it turned out not to be far less daunting than I had anticipated.
Rinse off your egg (because chicken poop is bad for you) and crack it carefully into a bowl (I just used the one from the vinaigrette, because I don't have a dishwasher. And am environmentally conscious.). Your water should be at a very low simmer. Stir it once and slowly slide the egg in. Let it bathe in there for 2-3 minutes, or until it looks like the whites are basically cooked, then turn the heat off and carefully remove it from the pot with a spatula or slotted spoon. Ease it onto its little bacon bed. Mine actually slid off and refused to move thereafter, but whatevs. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Then, with your fork, lightly scrape the surface of the egg, allowing its tasty little belly to ooze all over your salad.

Oh my gosh. The crisp, slightly sweet bacon, the bitter arugula, the creamy egg yolk, the slightly acidic vinaigrette - it's a symphony in your mouth. It's absolutely incredible. The only thing to add is a slice off good bread to mop up the juices at the end with.

No comments: