Warm Escarole, Egg and Bacon Salad
This is a classic French bistro dish, perfect for brunch. The eggs are poached until the whites are firm. The yolks are just barely cooked so that, when broken, they run over the escarole leaves and combine with the vinaigrette. Frisée, the curly-leafed relative of escarole, may be substituted for the escarole. Or you can use a mixture of the two. For a bit of spice, add some arugula.
- 2 heads escarole
- 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste
- 6 bacon slices, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- 4 eggs
Remove the outer dark green leaves from each head of escarole and reserve for another use. Separate the inner pale yellow leaves. You should have 5 cups. Tear the leaves into bite-size pieces.
In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Add the escarole but do not toss.
In a fry pan over medium heat, fry the bacon, stirring, until crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain.
Add the bacon pieces to the bowl, toss the salad and divide among 4 individual plates or shallow bowls.
Pour water to a depth of 2 inches into a large saucepan and add the lemon juice. Set over medium heat and bring to a gentle simmer. Break 1 egg into a small bowl. Hold the bowl so it is just touching the simmering water and slide the egg into the water. Quickly repeat with the remaining eggs, one at a time, spacing them about 1 inch apart. Adjust the heat to keep the water at a gentle simmer. Cook until the whites are set and the yolks are glazed over but still soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, lift each egg from the simmering water, letting the excess water drain into the pan. Drain briefly on paper towels. Trim any ragged edges of egg white with kitchen scissors.
Top each salad with a poached egg, season with pepper and serve immediately. Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Breakfast and Brunch, by Georgeanne Brennan, Elinor Klivans, Jordan Mackay and Charles Pierce (Oxmoor House, 2007).